News Links – 2020

Reading, Pennsylvania, Eagle, March 24, 2020: Red maples of Berks are early pollinators

I’ve been watching red maple flowers every spring for a few years now and photographing them. The pictures help because I am poor at keeping a journal. I realized I had never learned about how such an early blooming tree gets pollinated, or about what their flowers are like. But now I have read some research papers and looked at my pictures and I want to share with you a little bit about this rabbit hole I’ve gone down. In general, there are four basic ways flowering plants and conifers go about arranging their “genders” for each individual in a species. First and most common are plants bearing co-sexual flowers; that is, each flower has functional male and female parts. The female pistil contains the ovaries, which become seeds after they are fertilized. The male stamens have pollen-producing sacs at their ends…

Good Fruit Grower, March 24, 2020: Use ethephon early to help young trees grow strong

For decades, tart cherry growers have used the plant growth regulator ethephon to loosen cherry stems just before harvest, making the cherries more likely to drop when a mechanical shaker shakes the tree. But growers might have a use for ethephon earlier in the season, too: keeping fruit off trees that are too young for the shaker. “Tart cherry trees need to be physically big enough to shake them with our current harvest technology,” said Nikki Rothwell, a Michigan State University Extension educator and coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center. “Therefore, at the time of planting until years five, six or seven, we want those trees to get as big as they can as fast as they can. Putting fruit on the tree slows their growth and delays their harvest potential.” In addition, fruit on young trees can attract spotted wing drosophila — not just to the young blocks but to the blocks surrounding them — forcing growers to spray trees they can’t yet harvest, Rothwell said. Since the tart cherry industry sometimes needs to shrink its crop size for marketing purposes, it’s better for growers to drop fruit during bloom — before they end up with fields of ripe, rotting cherries that also can become SWD reservoirs, said Todd Einhorn, an MSU associate professor and tree fruit physiologist…

Geeky Gadgets, March 24, 2020: Tree ring record player transforms the tree’s growth into music

A unique record player has been created that is capable of transforming visual data in the form of the rings of the tree into sound. A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. The sculpture has been created “duly referencing an iconic analog medium as the bridge between the two worlds…” “Bartholomäus Traubeck’s Years is one of those designs that embodies much more than its one-line description might suggest: simply put, it’s “a record player that plays slices of wood, [in which] year ring data is translated into music.” A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently…”

Spokane, Washington, Spokesman-Review, March 24, 2020: Brett Haverstick: Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest plan has no accountability

The Forest Service is accepting public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the forest plan revision on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. The comment deadline is April 20. The National Forest Management Act (1976) mandates all national forests to have a resource management plan or forest plan. Forest plans dictate the management direction of a particular forest. The new, single plan for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests will potentially guide management for the next few decades. The Clearwater Basin of north-central Idaho is the northern half of the Big Wild, which is the largest undeveloped watershed complex left in the Lower 48. It is also the southern boundary of the largest known inland temperate rainforest in the world. “Wetbelt” forests contain numerous coastal disjunct species, including western red cedar, Pacific dogwood and others. These vascular plants are similar to those found along the coastal temperate forests of Oregon, Washington and other parts north. The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are home to many rare and imperiled species like bull trout, salmon, steelhead, wolverines, Canada lynx, fisher and grizzly bears. A World Wildlife Fund study (2001) identified the Clearwater Basin as having the best habitat for large carnivores, including grizzlies, in the entire U.S. Northern Rockies and Southern Canadian Rockies. Last summer, the Fish & Wildlife Service confirmed that multiple grizzly bears were in the Clearwater. The Forest Service is, unfortunately, seeking to exponentially increase logging on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests in the new plan. The agency sells 50 to 60 million board feet annually from these forests combined. The revision, however, offers four management alternatives that exceed current levels. Two of the alternatives propose levels over 200 million board feet per year…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2020: PG&E to Plead Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter Charges in Deadly California Wildfire

PG&E Corp. PCG 12.47% said it would accept criminal responsibility for starting the deadliest wildfire in California’s history, becoming one of a small number of U.S. corporations to plead guilty to felony charges of involuntary manslaughter. The indictment by a grand jury and PG&E’s decision to plead guilty put to rest significant questions about the extent of the company’s culpability in starting the Camp Fire in 2018. PG&E, a utility that supplies electricity and natural gas to 16 million people, or about one in 20 Americans, admitted that its failure to maintain its equipment was criminally negligent and caused the deaths of more than 80 people. However, the indictment doesn’t charge any PG&E employees or executives. Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, who led the investigation, said evidence showed that the company’s maintenance problems resulted from decisions made by many people over many years, and he decided not to charge any single person. On Monday morning, the San Francisco utility disclosed that it would plead guilty to an indictment in Butte County, where 85 people died during the Camp Fire. The indictment charges the company with 84 counts of manslaughter and one count of unlawfully causing a fire. The company has agreed to pay a $3.48 million penalty, the statutory maximum…

US News, March 22, 2020: SW Indiana Man Aims to Save Remains of Large Cypress Tree

Ron Clark of Bicknell hopes to preserve the last large cypress tree in what was once the Little Cypress Swamp. In a southwest corner of Knox County, known to some as Hell’s Neck, rests the remaining acres of Little Cypress Swamp, and it’s Ron Clark’s mission to help preserve the swamp’s largest bald cypress that was once part of 25,000 acres of the mammoth trees. The tree, likely over 1,000 years old — with some estimates closer to 2,000 years — was once the oldest living thing in Indiana. Though it hasn’t been alive and thriving for some time, Clark hopes to gain enough interest and support for the iconic tree to preserve its remains by uprooting and moving it to a newly constructed, weatherproof shelter. “There’s only one like this, and it’s maybe been there for 2,000 years … that goes back to the time of Jesus,” the Bicknell man said of the tree’s significance. The large cypress has a circumference of more than 45 feet and a hollowed out space large enough to shelter several people within it. Little Cypress Swamp is near the confluence of the White and Wabash rivers and is an ecological rarity. The remaining acreage of bald cypress trees in that pocket of Knox County is possibly the northernmost point in the United States where the trees have grown wild, thriving in the sandy soil and regularly flooded grounds…

New York City, Daily News, March 23, 2020: D.C. mayor brings National Guard to keep crowds from city’s cherry blossom trees amid coronavirus fears

So many people flocked to the nation’s capital to see its signature cherry blossom trees reach peak bloom over the weekend that authorities have called on the National Guard to help control the crowds — and prevent further coronavirus transmissions. Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Sunday ordered the Metropolitan Police Department to work with the National Guard to enforce a restricted access zone around the tree-lined Tidal Basin to ensure social distancing. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic will also be restricted at the National Mall and Jefferson Memorial. Despite repeated warnings to avoid large gatherings, hundreds of people were seen walking almost should-to-shoulder to get a close look or snap a selfie at the stunning site. The National Parks Service said the crowds were making it “increasingly difficult” to ensure “effective social distancing.” “We strongly urge anyone considering a visit to see the cherry blossoms to reconsider and to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” the agency said in a statement Saturday…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, March 20, 2020: Farm’s towering grapefruit tree has 75-year history

After opening the large rolling door one night recently to park my car into the heated pole barn at the farm, I detected a strong sweet smell, which I thought might be from a new varnish my dad was using for one of his woodworking projects. After turning on the lights and further examination, I traced the scent to the 10-foot tall grapefruit tree that spends winters inside the 54-degree building, along with assorted ferns, geraniums and our other delicate outdoor plants. To my surprise, the branches of the tree were, and are still currently, bursting with clusters of white blossoms, all of them exceptionally fragrant, much like a gardenia. When my dad’s sisters — my Auntie Loretta with Uncle Ed and Auntie Lottie with Uncle Swede — retired from their homes in the Midwest to move near the Tampa and Sarasota areas of Florida more than two decades ago, one of their new landscape highlights were the orange and grapefruit trees in their yards. But the grapefruit tree that has resided at our family farm for the past several years has its own unique story…

Washington, D.C. Townhall, March 20, 2020: No Cherry Blossom Walks: DC Metro Shuts Down Access to Iconic Trees

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates city buses and the Metrorail, announced on Friday that they would be shutting down service to stops with access to the popular blossoming Japanese cherry trees that line the Tidal Basin. “Metro today announced the closures of Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery stations, effective 5 p.m. today, to discourage the use of Metrorail for recreational visits to view the Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin. Metro is open for ESSENTIAL TRIPS ONLY to maintain regional mobility for hospital staff, government officials, and emergency responders. The two stations will remain closed until further notice,” said the WMATA in a brief statement. While many residents of Washington, D.C. observe protocols related to self-isolation and social distancing, outdoor space has remained an accessible comfort for those needing some fresh air. The early spring blooming of the cherry trees against the backdrop of the Jefferson Memorial has been an iconic part of D.C. life since they were gifted to the city in 1912 by Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki. Currently, more than 3,700 of the pink blossom producing trees line the Tidal Basin, visible from multiple points in D.C. and from Virginia…

Agana, Guam, Pacific News Daily, March 23, 2020: ‘Coconut trees are coming back’; UOG official says overall tree population is recovering

Guam won’t lose its coconut trees to the invasive coconut rhinoceros beetle, said Roland Quitugua, a University of Guam extension agent who has been fighting the insect for years.The beetle first was discovered on Guam in 2007, in Tumon Bay. It has since spread islandwide. Adult beetles kill palms when they bore into the crowns to feed on sap. “People ask me how many trees we lost, and I can’t tell you that,” Quitugua said, adding some residents reported losing all of their coconut trees and therefore believe Guam is losing the beetle battle. “But my job is to take a couple of steps back and look at the island in its totality. I can tell you now the coconut trees are coming back. I can take you around the island and I can show you beautiful coconut trees.” He said typhoons generate green waste, which causes a temporary spike in the beetle population because there are more breeding sites for the beetles…

Roanoke, Virginia, Times, March 21, 2020: ‘Liquid gold’ from walnut trees brings new attention to Highland County

Christoph Herby stands inside his 96-square-foot sugar shed and watches the sap hauled from his black walnut trees boil. Steam rises from the evaporator and the air smells of buttered popcorn. “That’s our liquid gold,” he says, noting the intense labor that goes into making walnut syrup. Tonoloway Farm, a first-generation syrup operation run by Christoph and Lauren Herby in Highland County, is believed to be the only commercial producer of walnut syrup in Virginia. But that could change. Researchers in Virginia and West Virginia hope to expand the industry, making the states leaders in the lesser-known but highly sought-after walnut syrup. Highland County is well-known for its maple syrup. Its annual maple festival — initially scheduled for this month, but postponed amid concerns about the novel coronavirus — draws thousands to the sugar camps that dot the bucolic landscape. Like maple syrup, walnut syrup is made by tapping trees for sap and boiling it. But walnut syrup is more difficult to make. Sap from black walnut trees contains pectin, a gelatinous substance used for setting jams and jellies, which complicates the filtering process. Additionally, Herby said the sap yield is significantly lower in the black walnut trees on their property, a trickle compared to sugar maple trees. The couple tapped both types of trees this year — 640 maples and 420 walnuts. Herby said they expect to produce more than 100 gallons of maple syrup compared to 10 gallons of walnut syrup…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter News, March 22, 2020: Bruce Kreitler: The world was built on trees

With the spate of continuing education classes that I have been going through lately, I’ve had plenty of opportunities (partly because they’ve been pointed out to me with the phrase “this will be on the test”), to think about trees and some of the benefits they provide. Or have provided, if that doesn’t immediately pop into people’s minds. But being me, once my attention is drawn to something, I like to go a little further, especially into the history aspect of whatever might be under consideration. There have been all kinds of studies concerning “unseen” benefits of trees. Sure, that big tree in someone’s yard makes their house cooler and more attractive, but I think it’s reasonable to say there’s nothing hidden about those particular benefits. I think the average person could drive past a nice large tree, at 70 or 80 mph, and be able to see what an attractive asset it is. No rocket science needed there. On the other hand, there are a lot of good things that trees do for us that aren’t quite as obvious…

Mill Valley, California, Marin Independent Journal, March 19, 2020: Mill Valley makes strong case to remove beloved trees

Look around Mill Valley. It would be hard to make a case that the city doesn’t care about trees. For many years, the city has had a law on its books protecting heritage and native trees, but it appears those definitions are in the eye of the beholder. At issue, are five trees that have grown to 50 feet in height that stand at the busy corner of East Blithedale Avenue and Camino Alto. The trees, acacias and eucalyptus, were planted along Camino Alto as landscaping for the restaurant that was built at the corner. The restaurant’s new owner sought the city’s permission to cut them down and replace them with 11 maple trees. The city planning department tested the plan with the city’s tree ordinance and found that acacia and eucalyptus are not on the city’s list of trees it wants to preserve, staff says. A report from an arborist said those species are considered a fire risk, have shallow roots that could cause damage and, if not maintained, could drop limbs onto the road. The city Planning Commission agreed and voted 4-1 to give the property owner the green light to cut down the trees and replace them with trees that are a better complement for the location. Planning Commissioner Kevin Skiles stressed that today’s design standards would never allow the planting of eucalyptus trees at that location…

Anchorage, Alaska, Daily News, March 19, 2020: A meeting about dying Southcentral trees drew a packed house last month. That discussion is only beginning

Unfortunately, there was not enough room to accommodate the huge crowd that came to the Energy Center last month for the discussion about what to do about tree loss hereabouts. Despite the worst job done by our governments in not clearing the roads of a snowfall from several days earlier, there were still so many people that the fire dude had to turn some of them away. So here is a report for those who couldn’t attend, were turned away or tried but had to turn back. First, Pat Ryan did a fantastic job organizing a veritable “who’s who” and “who should be there” panel. There were forestry-related and pest management folks from the municipality, state and federal governments. They addressed questions alongside with representatives from the landscape industry, commercial tree industry and the Anchorage Fire Department. There was a lot of information in the two hours of questions and answers, as you can imagine. I won’t summarize here because on May 16 — virus allowing — the State Association of Foresters will have its annual tree distribution/Arbor Day event at REI. They should plan on huge crowds — if we’re allowed to assemble by then… I’ve heard talk of another forum in a larger venue when it is safe to gather again. This one will be specific to beetles and spruce. We have to get a handle on the dead trees and save as many of the healthy ones as we can before we tackle anything else…

Salem, Oregon, Capital Press, March 19, 2020: Disaster aid available for hazelnut, winegrape growers

Millions of dollars of disaster aid is now available to Oregon hazelnut growers who suffered crop losses in February 2019 as a result of severe snowstorms that damaged up to 12% of mature orchards in the southern Willamette Valley. Congress approved a $19.1 billion relief package in the wake of multiple natural disasters across the country, including hurricanes Michael, Florence and Dorian, as well as major floods, tornadoes, heavy snow and wildfires. Part of the spending bill set aside $4.5 billion for agriculture, timber and watershed recovery to assist farmers and ranchers. The emergency fund — named the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program-Plus, abbreviated as WHIP+ — contains $11 million for Oregon hazelnuts. The USDA Farm Service Agency announced March 16 it has established payment rates for hazelnuts through the program, and is accepting applications from eligible producers. Kent Willett, farm program specialist for the FSA in Portland, said the program is unique in that it provides some compensation for damaged trees in addition to a percentage of the crop value. Payments are limited to $125,000 per farm. “We’re just now trying to get that out to the public,” Willett said. Nearly all U.S. commercial hazelnuts are grown in Oregon. A report by Pacific Agricultural Survey estimated 3,332 acres of mature hazelnut trees in Lane and Douglas counties were at risk of winter storm damage in 2019, out of 27,603 total mature acres…

San Jose, California, Mercury-News, March 19, 2020: Trees or no trees? Privacy or no privacy? Is this Johnny Appleseed agent trying to help our profits grow?

We are planning to sell our home. One of the real estate agents we have spoken with about becoming our seller’s agent is promoting the planting of trees to help mask neighboring two-story homes. The property to our back left has a satellite dish attached to their second-story roof. Similarly, to our east, two doors down, is another satellite dish prominently affixed to a second-story roof. The three two-story homes built across the street are a recent addition to the neighborhood. It was very competitive when we bought our house, and our buyer’s agent at the time never mentioned that the two-story homes and their second-level windows would hurt resale. If she had done so, we would have planted trees 20 years ago. This real estate agent is suggesting we plant a variety of 6-, 7- and 8-foot “teenage” trees to enhance our front, back, and side yards, which will “offset the fishbowl issue, beautify the property and increase value…”

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, March 18, 2020: M ac’s Maple has grown from just a couple thousand to 30,000 taps

As a kid, Liz McNamara of Mac’s Maple remembers tapping sap from maples on her family’s farm, then using it to boil hot dogs and eggs for a sweet treat. “It becomes a sweet hardboiled egg; same with your hot dogs. You can boil them right in the sap,” she said. Since tree sap is between 95 and 99 percent water, boiling it releases steam, leaving concentrated sugar syrup behind, she said. Back then, Mac’s Maple sugaring business was strictly a family affair. “Mostly, well, we tapped all in buckets that we collected. My grandfather would drive us around so we could collect in the back of his truck. We boiled on a single pan. When we were little, on a small scale, when we weren’t making syrup for anybody else, we could (do that.) “We’ve been farming since my grandparents have lived on the farm, since 1950,” she added. Mac’s Maple collects much more sap now, and their maple syrup production continues to grow. “It’s a bigger-scaled operation. We still have a very good time with it. We have an actual sugarhouse — no more eggs and hot dogs in the sap,” she said. McNamara said her family, which owns Mac’s Maple in Plainfield, has been producing maple products since about 2010, when they started with just a couple thousand taps. Today, the farm is handling about 30,000 taps. According to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension website, all native maples can be tapped. Unsurprisingly, the sap from sugar maples contains the greatest amount of the sweet stuff – about 2 percent is sugar. Still, the process takes a lot of effort. It requires about 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup, so maple sugars, maple cotton candy and maple cream don’t come without hard work…

Omaha, Nebraska, WOWT-TV, March 18, 2020: Dangerous tree gets removed after investigation

For several years serious injury or worse hung over neighbors Anthony Cato and Daryl Johnson. Daryl Johnson said,” Most definitely if it came down on my kitchen and I’m back there, I’m sure I would get crushed.” In the yard of a rental house next door stood a dead tree. Falling branches have damaged both neighbors’ garages. Anthony Cato said, “60 miles an hour wind the next time, all three houses might get taken out.” A legitimate fear if you look at Daryl’s garage and his partially damaged porch. A dangerous tree has caused damage to the neighbor’s property for years but after a call from Six on Your Side that tree came down. The Brothers Tree Service crew might have said, “Oh, brother!” as they spent two days cutting down the dead ash. The foreman said, “45 inches wide and 75-foot height.” As huge trunks from the neighboring tree are removed, Daryl is thankful. “It was what I needed these last few years to make something happen,” he said. Over the year’s lawyers’ letters and a city violation notice didn’t succeed…

Euronews, March 18, 2020: Which tree did voters root for in European Tree of the Year 2020?

Voters have rooted for a tree overseeing a flooded village in the Czech Republic in the European Tree of the Year competition. The 350-year-old pine, called Guardian of the Flooded Village, sits above the village of Chudobín, which was flooded due to the construction of a dam. According to local legend, a devil sat under the pine in the night and played the violin. However, it is more likely that they were hearing the strong winds blowing over the valley. The results of the competition is usually held at the European Parliament in Brussels, but were moved online in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. “We wondered how to convey the joy of the results to sixteen European communities. Finally, we combined the tree stories and personal testimonies of the first three finalists into a video that can now be watched and shared among tree fans across borders,” said Josef Jary from the Environmental Partnership Association, the contest organiser…

Boston, Massachusetts, Real Estate Boston, March 18, 2020: Why some trees didn’t drop their leaves

Q. We have a 15-year-old dwarf Japanese maple, and most years it is a beautiful red in the fall, but in the past two years, the leaves have turned a light brown and stayed on the tree. I have noticed others in the neighborhood have the same problem. What is causing this?
A. One possibility is that the warmer autumns we have been experiencing may be preventing some kinds of trees such as oaks, beech, and your Japanese maple from dropping their leaves. These are all trees that take a long time to prepare for winter. They drop their leaves relatively late in the fall. The wacky warm weather may be throwing off their timing, so they do not finish forming the abscission layers between the twig and the leaf stem that is necessary to release the leaves from the tree. There is a name for this: “marcescence.’’ The good news is that it doesn’t injure the tree. If winter winds haven’t removed them, new buds will push them off in the spring, when the old makes room for the new…

National Interest, March 17, 2020: What Tracking 300,000 Trees Around the World Tells Us

Tropical forests matter to each and every one of us. They suck colossal quantities of carbon out of the atmosphere, providing a crucial brake on the rate of climate change. Yet, new research we have just published in Nature shows that intact tropical forests are removing far less carbon dioxide than they used to. The change is staggering. Across the 1990s intact tropical forests – those unaffected by logging or fires – removed roughly 46 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This diminished to an estimated 25 billion tons in the 2010s. The lost sink capacity is 21 billion tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to a decade of fossil fuel emissions from the UK, Germany, France and Canada combined. How did we reach such an alarming conclusion, and how is it that nobody knew this before? The answer is that we – along with 181 other scientists from 36 countries – have spent years tracking individual trees deep in the world’s rainforests. The idea is simple enough: we go and identify the tree species and measure the diameter and height of every individual tree in an area of forest. Then a few years later we return to exactly the same forest and re-measure all the trees again. We can see which grew, which died and if any new trees have grown. These measurements allow us to calculate how much carbon is stored in a forest, and how it changes over time. By repeating the measurements enough times and in enough places, we can reveal long-term trends in carbon uptake. This is easier said than done. Tracking trees in tropical forests is challenging, particularly in equatorial Africa, home to the second largest expanse of tropical forest in the world. As we want to monitor forests that are not logged or affected by fire, we need to travel down the last road, to the last village, and last path, before we even start our measurements…

New Haven, Connecticut, Litchfield County Times, March 17, 2020: Will ash trees return or go the way of the chestnut?

Sean McNamara used to volunteer as Redding’s tree warden — marking a few trees each year that needed to come down. Then the emerald ash borer hit in 2012 and the workload exploded. Last year, McNamara — the owner of Redding Nursery — surrendered his duties to the town road crew. “It got to be dozens of trees — mostly ash,” McNamara said. So it is, throughout the state. There are millions of ash trees in the state’s forest. Very few will survive the killing plague brought on by the arrival of a bright green beetle that infests an ash and destroys its ability to feed itself. “It’s a scourge,” said David Gardener, Roxbury’s tree warden. “It’s tragic.” You can now see ash trees blotched with huge pale yellow patches. Those patches are where woodpeckers have torn away the tree’s bark to feed on the ash borer larvae living beneath it — a process called blonding. “Once you see that, you know the tree is gone,” said Rick King, an arborist at the Kent Greenhouse. The loss of ashes is the third great destructive wave to spread through the forest of the eastern United States in little over a century…

London, UK, The Guardian, March 17, 2020: Wanaka’s famous Instagram tree attacked with a saw

A famous willow tree that symbolises hope and endurance has been attacked with a saw in the New Zealand tourist town of Wanaka. The crooked willow tree that stands in a lake has been photographed hundreds of thousands of times by sightseers and is a major tourist attraction for the South Island region. But on Wednesday it emerged that someone had lopped off a number of branches using a saw or chainsaw, including one branch that dips into the water. Councillor Quentin Smith said the tree was “iconic” and so far there were no leads on who was responsible. The incident comes at a difficult time for the local community, which was experiencing “extreme uncertainty” in the face of coronavirus impacting visitor numbers, he said. “It is disappointing that someone has chosen to vandalise it for whatever reasons,” Smith said. “We just don’t know what would have driven someone to do this, and at this time we have no clue who is responsible.” The Queenstown Lakes District Council’s arborist was scheduled to inspect the damaged tree on Thursday, and has advised the community that it should survive. Wanaka photographer Luisa Apanui told local media the incident was perplexing and sad…

Sonoma, California, Press-Democrat, March 17, 2020: Tree worker who died in accident at private Forestville property identified

The tree worker who died in an accident while on a job at a private Forestville property was identified Tuesday as a 31-year-old Modesto man. David Romero Mendoza was identified by the Sonoma County Coroner’s Office, according to county sheriff’s spokesman Juan Valencia. Cal-OSHA is investigating the fatality that occurred Monday. Mendoza worked for Mountain F Enterprises, a tree cutting service based in California, said Cal-OSHA spokesman Frank Polizzi. He was operating an ATV on the Forestville property near Highway 116 and Martinelli Road when he lost control and crashed. Cal-OSHA is investigating any possible violations of workplace safety regulations, and has six months to issue citations in connection with the incident…

Detroit, Michigan, Free Press, March 16, 2020: Detroit residents fight back on proposed tree nursery near vacant Herman Kiefer hospital

The developer working on Detroit’s Herman Kiefer revitalization project is planning to install a commercial nursery, raising objections from area residents who are concerned with the expansive acquisition of land in their neighborhood. The proposed nursery would go on 92 parcels of vacant land in the Virginia Park neighborhood near the vacant Herman Kiefer hospital complex, which dates to the early 20th Century and was a public health hospital with a history of treating infectious disease. The nursery would last five years and involve up to 3,000 trees, which would be sold for local construction projects and other uses. Some residents don’t want a for-profit business plopped down in their neighborhood. The tree nursery proposal also has raised larger concerns, emerging as a flashpoint for residents who are generally frustrated with the Herman Kiefer project’s slow pace, changing parameters and lack of community benefits. “Not one cent from this tree farm is going to be offered to the community,” Virginia Park resident Venita Thompkins said at a community meeting Wednesday. “People in this community need rehabs. We need houses. We need steps. We need assistance.” Thompkins and other residents have been mobilizing to stop the tree farm, circulating a petition and deeply researching the project to expose what they consider its shortfalls. The proposal is up for approval by the Detroit Board of Zoning Appeals, but a planned meeting for Tuesday was postponed to an unspecified date…

Houston, Texas, KPRC-TV, March 16, 2020: What Houstonians should be doing for their trees right now

I know, I know–you think trees in spring and you think Pollen! And you’re are right, as the only way to get those beautiful, leafy lush green trees is to go through the warm weather pollination season and the longer that season lasts, the more pollinating those trees seem to do. But that will end and now is the time to make sure you’re taking the right steps to ensure happy, healthy trees. And with our current social distancing measures, gardening and yard work are great ways to safely enjoy your life right now. Davey Trees, a company I’ve personally used for years, offers these four steps: From the graphic above, it’s pretty simple: Inspect trees and shrubs; prune dead branches; plant new trees; mulch your landscape; Fertilize plants. Ted Sonnier, Davey Tree District Manager, says now is the time. “While there is no set date for all trees to break bud, there are two ways Davey arborists predict when trees wake up for spring. First, they respond to warmer days after a stretch of cold temperatures in winter. At the same time, they react to a change in light duration, when shorter nights and longer days of sun exposure spur new growth and development. Trees have adapted to take extra caution because it can be devastating for leaves to be shocked by a sudden freeze. Because of this, trees typically leaf out in mid-March around Houston…”

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, March 16, 2020: Construction work can kill trees — here’s how to keep them safe

The construction processes can be harmful and even deadly to nearby trees. Unless the damage is extensive, the trees may not die immediately, but can go into decline over several years before finally dying. With this delay in symptom development, the loss of the trees may not be associated with the construction work. It is possible to preserve trees on a building site, provided the right steps are taken before, during and after the construction is completed. Start by hiring a professional arborist to help you decide which trees are worth saving and to work with your contractor to protect trees throughout the construction process. One of the first decisions to make is determining which trees are to be preserved and which should be removed. Tree species differ in their ability to adapt to compaction, grade changes and root damage that can occur as part of the normal construction process. For example, oaks tend to be very sensitive to construction impact on roots. Consider the species, size, age, location, and condition of each tree. Older trees are more sensitive to environmental changes than younger trees, and therefore they will need more vigilant protecting. Large, mature trees typically do not survive when located within 5 feet of a new building, though you may find it worthwhile to try to save them by taking extra precautions to protect them. Younger, more vigorous trees usually can better withstand the stresses caused by construction…

Medical Express, March 16, 2020: Living in an area with more tree canopy improves people’s odds of getting enough sleep

Not feeling sharp? Finding it hard to concentrate? About 12-19% of adults in Australia regularly don’t get enough sleep, defined as less than 5.5-6 hours each night. But who’d have thought the amount of tree cover in their neighborhood could be a factor? Our latest research has found people with ample nearby green space are much more likely to get enough sleep than people in areas with less greenery. There’s plenty of helpful advice online on sleep, of course. Apart from personal routines, many other things can affect our sleep. Aircraft and traffic noise isn’t helpful. Other environmental factors at play include temperature, artificial light and air pollution. As a result of these factors and their interactions with others, such as age, occupation and socioeconomic circumstances, the chances of getting a decent night’s kip are unevenly distributed across the population. So it is not simply a matter of personal responsibility and choosing to get more sleep. We’ve been studying the health benefits of green space for many years. We recently published research that suggested more green space—and more tree cover in particular—could help reduce levels of cardiometabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes…

Everett, Washington, Herald, March 15, 2020: County to tackle a development side effect: invasive plants

In the next 100 years, native plants and habitat could vanish from urban forests like Meadowdale Beach. That’s because Himalayan blackberry, English holly and other invasive species are slowly choking out large trees emblematic of the Pacific Northwest, according to the environmental nonprofit Forterra. As development creeps farther into the rural reaches of Snohomish County, human disturbance is increasingly allowing invasive species to encroach on the 12,000 forested acres owned by the county. The local government is partnering with Forterra to keep those plant invaders at bay, dedicating $130,000 last year to the Healthy Forest Project. It kicked off in January as a 1,000-acre pilot project in 10 locations: Portage Creek, Kayak Point, Smith Island, McCollum Park, Picnic Point, Lake Stickney, the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, Lord Hill Regional Park, Meadowdale Beach and the Paradise Valley Conservation Area. The sites are centered around woods that impact salmon-bearing streams. Large trees shade the water, keeping the temperature cool enough for young fish to thrive, Moore said. Tree bark and leaves support an array of stream insects and critters that fish eat…

Yahoo.com, March 13, 2020: Climate change: Will planting millions of trees really save the planet?

From Greta Thunberg to Donald Trump and airlines to oil companies, everyone is suddenly going crazy for trees. The UK government has pledged to plant millions a year while other countries have schemes running into billions. But are these grand ambitions achievable? How much carbon dioxide do trees really pull in from the atmosphere? And what happens to a forest, planted amid a fanfare, over the following decades? Last year’s UK general election became a contest to look green. The Conservatives’ pledge of planting 30 million trees a year, confirmed in the Budget this week, is a big step up on current rates. Critics wonder whether it’s possible given that earlier targets were far easier and weren’t met. If the new planting rate is achieved, it would lead to something like 17% of the UK becoming forested, as opposed to 13% now. Tree planting is a popular idea because forests are not only beautiful but also useful: they support wildlife, help with holding back floodwater and provide timber…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, March 15, 2020: Johnson County restoring natural prairies in a 10-year plan

Johnson County is restoring its natural prairies as part of a 10-year natural resources plan aimed at preserving and restoring the nation’s last tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Johnson County Parks and Recreation District is in the first year of a plan to restore and manage 8,700 acres with efforts across the state, nonprofits and government agencies, reported the Kansas News Service. The 10-year plan passed in 2019. Kansas is currently home to two-thirds of the country’s remaining tallgrass prairie. “Long-term, the goal is to be managing our woodlands and prairies for less than it costs to mow turf grass,” said Matt Garrett, a field biologist. He says getting there will take a lot of work, including spraying herbicide to kill invasive plants, physically remove trees and spreading large amount of native seed. “It took a solid two years for it to not be just weeds,” Garrett said. “It can be labor intensive and it can be expensive,” said Sara Baer, director of the Kansas Biological Survey. “Some of the most successful prairie restoration efforts have been successful through a lot of volunteer work.” Aside from professional staff and hired contractors, supporters from local groups and mountain bikers have all played a key role in the restoration. They believe that exposing people to something they would otherwise have to travel to see can help them understand how important natural prairies can be…

Aberdeen, South Dakota, Farm Forum, March 15, 2020: Growing Together: The fine art of apple tree pruning

“Prune until it hurts, and then prune some more,” was the old saying repeated by North Dakota State University’s Professor Neal Holland as he taught apple tree pruning to us young horticulture students some 45 years ago. We were so afraid of cutting away too much, but quickly learned that timidity prevents the proper pruning necessary to make trees more productive. Why should we prune apple trees? The most apparent reason is to control height for easier picking. If left unpruned, apple trees can become large, with the best fruits high on the outer perimeter where better sunlight encourages flowering and fruiting. If left unpruned, large upper branches shade and overshadow lower branches. Proper pruning encourages fruit formation on lower branches where picking is easier. Pruning also decreases disease by increasing air circulation through the tree as the canopy is thinned, removing overcrowded branches. And it helps trees bear fruit more evenly each year, leveling out the every-other-year heavy crop pattern of many apple varieties, The best time to prune apple trees is late winter, after severe cold is likely past, but before new growth begins to sprout. March through early April is usually a good pruning window for fruit trees…

Norman, Oklahoma, Transcript, March 12, 2020: Judge to consider dismissing tree lawsuit

A judge will decide next week if a group of Norman residents can continue to enjoy a tree canopy along S. Berry Road. The residents filed a lawsuit in February against Oklahoma Electric Cooperative to prevent the utility from removing several trees, which create a potential hazardous situation by interfering with overhead electrical lines. Cleveland County District Judge Jeff Virgin granted a temporary restraining order that prevented OEC from starting the tree removal. Virgin initially was scheduled to make a permanent ruling on the lawsuit March 26. However, OEC attorney Gregory Tontz filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit Feb. 28. A response from the Norman residents and their attorney, Doug Wall, must be filed by 5 p.m. Monday. Virgin said he’ll likely rule on OEC’s request Tuesday. OEC spokeswoman Autumn McMahon said this type of lawsuit is rare. “It’s very uncommon to have lawsuits like this,” she said. “From our perspective, the best way to be good stewards of our members’ money is to dismiss this lawsuit, which does not have a lot of standing.” Doug Wall, attorney for the residents, could not be reached for comment Thursday. None of the Norman residents involved in the lawsuit own property where the 17 trees are located, which is a significant issue in the case. The residents argued in court that removal of the trees would cause irreparable harm to the value and aesthetics” of their homes…

Sonoma, California, Marin Independent Journal, March 12, 2020: Mill Valley commission backs restaurateur’s tree removal plan

A decision made by the Mill Valley Planning Commission shows that not all trees are created equal. Despite neighborhood opposition, the commission voted 3-1 on Tuesday to allow five 50-foot trees to be replaced with red maples at the corner of Camino Alto and East Blithedale Avenue. The property is being redeveloped into a pizza restaurant. The permit also allows the applicant to plant up to 11 trees, each with a 48-inch box. The Freeman Park Neighborhood Association led the effort to save the trees. Its president, Susan Kirsch, said she is disappointed with the commission’s decision. “We want the owner of the property to know that the neighbors are in favor of something happening at that corner,” Kirsch said. “But I think this is a drastic move and Mill Valley will be making an error cutting down trees, especially these.” Another Mill Valley resident, Judy Thier, agreed. She said the property is at the gateway into the residential zone of the city and the new trees will take a long time before they mature. “My issue is not only replacing the trees, it’s what they’re replacing them with,” Thier said. “With these little spindly trees that they say within 20 or 30 years they’ll be beautiful — I’m going to be dead then.” The five blackwood acacia and eucalyptus trees that are to be removed are non-heritage trees, said Lisa Newman, senior planner. “Even though they’re large,” Newman said. “They’re just not of the species that are considered important to be protected in Mill Valley…”

St. George, Utah, News, March 12, 2020: ‘Every winter we see an increase of unlicensed companies’; Officials advise against harmful tree topping

As weather starts to warm up and people venture out to take stock of their landscaping, many homeowners cast an eye higher in the sky toward the trees on their property, and city of St. George officials are reminding people that the practice of ‘tree topping’ actually does more damage than good. “There is an epidemic of residents who are somewhere getting some bad advice, and they’re topping the trees in their yard,” Shane Moore, city of St. George deputy director of parks, previously told St. George News. “We just want to make people aware that this old-timey style of pruning is really hurting their trees.” According to a press release from the city, when a tree is topped, 50-100% of leafed branches are removed, taking away the tree’s food source and causing it to go into stress mode. The tree then sends out epicormic shoots – “what we call water suckers,” Moore said. These new branches do not have strong attachments and can eventually fall from the tree. Trees can “heal” a wound from a proper pruning cut but not from a stub cut like those seen in tree topping. Moore called a branch that has been cut in the middle a “superhighway for disease to enter the tree…”

St. Joseph, Missouri, News Press, March 12, 2020: Is your tree on death’s door? Here’s how to tell

Worried about a sad-looking tree in your yard? Climate change, invasive species and even international trade are taking a serious toll on California trees. An estimated 150 million trees died during the drought that started in December 2011, according to Smithsonian Magazine, and the stressed trees that survived became more vulnerable to attack by a host of newcomer pests, said Philippe Rolshausen, subtropical tree specialist for the Cooperative Extension office at UC Riverside. “There are lots of invasive pests everywhere because of global warming and the movement of plant materials in general,” he said. Identifying specific tree diseases or pests usually requires an expert, but Rolshausen said three indicators suggest your tree needs help: yellowing leaves, a thinned-out canopy and branch die-back. If you’re willing to wait, researchers or master gardeners in the state’s county Cooperative Extension offices can help you diagnose a sick tree for free, Rolshausen said. Professional consulting arborists usually can respond more quickly but charge $200 to $400 for a consultation, said Darren Butler, a Los Angeles-based consulting arborist, horticulturist, landscape designer and cocreator of the GardenZeus.com. When you consider how healthy, mature trees boost property values, that’s a relatively small fee to pay, he said, but people often wait until it’s too late to ask for help…

Bergen County, New Jersey, Record, March 12, 2020: Neighbors’ legal battle over backyard bamboo trees divides NJ Supreme Court

A split between Cherry Hill neighbors over the fate of a fence of creeping, 20-foot-tall bamboo trees grew to divide even the state’s top legal minds. A 4-3 decision from the New Jersey Supreme Court on Wednesday finally ended the case in a ruling that says landowners who want to take their neighbors to court over the destruction of trees or shrubs must show their property value was diminished as a result. The story begins with bamboo and ends with a victory for bamboo killers. This is not the first time the non-native plant that grows explosively has created problems in New Jersey. More than a dozen municipalities have passed ordinances regulating where bamboo can be planted. Stories of neighbors fighting neighbors over the flora abound. This one happened in Cherry Hill…

St. Louis, Missouri, KMOV-TV(March 11, 2020): Metro East woman says STL tree trimming company damaged her home

A Belleville homeowner who didn’t want to be identified says tree trimmers she hired lost control of a 20-foot tree limb that fell on top of her house. She says she hired Grant Tree Removal for the job. They’re based out of Missouri. As outlined in her paperwork, the company was hired to cut down a tree and remove limbs hanging over her house. She says the slip-up by the tree trimmers is going to cost her at least $2,000 to fix damage to her gutter and shingles. “They refuse to contact me,” she said. News 4 spoke with Grant Tree Service over the phone and a representative claimed the limbs were already on her house when they arrived to do work. A fact the Belleville homeowner says is true. She says the paperwork states they were to remove limbs that were hanging over the house but not on the roof. “There were no trees on my house, this was the agreement to remove limbs from two trees,” she said. Grant Tree Service says damage done to her home wasn’t done by their crew…

Phys.org, March 11, 2020: Urban trees could cut extreme heat by up to 6 degrees

Australia just experienced the second-warmest summer on record, with 2019 being the hottest year. Summer temperatures soared across the country, causing great economic and human loss. The good news is we can do something about this in our own backyards. We have found trees and vegetation can lower local land temperatures by up to 5-6℃ on days of extreme heat. Our newly published research into a summer heatwave in Adelaide suggests that a simple solution to extreme heat is literally at everyone’s doorstep. It relies on the trees, the grasses and the vegetation in our own backyards. During a three-day heatwave that hit Adelaide in 2017, AdaptWest took to the skies to measure land surface temperatures from an aircraft. Our analysis of the data collected on that day suggests urban trees and grasses can lower daytime land temperatures by up to 5-6℃ during extreme heat. The largest temperature reductions were in the hottest suburbs and those further away from the coast. These significant reductions were mostly achieved thanks to backyard trees…

Goodyear, Arizona, West Valley News, March 11, 2020: Buckeye Mayor Meck testifies at U.S. Senate on thirsty salt cedar trees

Buckeye, Arizona, Mayor Jackie A. Meck told the U.S. Senate drinking water is scarce enough for cities in the West – they don’t need to be competing with invasive species for it, too. Meck was one of several witnesses March 4 at a Senate hearing on the impact of nonnative species – mostly quagga and zebra mussels clogging water intake pipes and forcing out native species, but also salt cedars lining the region’s riverbanks. But while others were focused on mussels, Meck said the problem for his city is the thirsty salt cedar trees lining the Gila River, sucking up 200-300 gallons of water per day… Salt cedar trees were first planted in the state in the late 1800s to control erosion and have since spread to 15,000 acres along the Gila River in Buckeye, Goodyear and Avondale. Besides being thirsty, the trees deposit salt around their bases and are highly flammable, which can pose a wildfire threat. “In Arizona, our desert rivers like the Verde, Salt and Gila have been hit particularly hard,” McSally said in her opening statement. “Right now these riverbeds are choked with up to 4,000 salt cedars per acre…”

Los Angeles, California, KABC-TV, March 10, 2020: $7.3M settlement going to family after daughter’s skull fractured by tree limb in Pasadena

A Southern California family is speaking out, saying the accident that left their toddler with a fractured skull never had to happen. The accident happened when Eric and Marci Palmstrom had dropped off their daughter, Adelaide, at Linda Vista Children’s Center in Pasadena. Hours later they got a call. A tree limb had fallen on Adelaide while she played in the yard of the day care. Her skull was fractured. Her neck, spine and leg were also broken and she had internal bleeding. Adelaide’s parents were stunned. “How does something like this happen? You drop your child off at day care, and you expect to pick them up same way you dropped them off,” Marci Palmstrom said. The accident happened in 2017. The road to recovery would be long and arduous for Adelaide. One week in a hospital, two months in a heavy, cumbersome halo held in place with screws. Adelaide was requiring round-the-clock care. “The both of us had to stop working to care for her 24/7,” Marci Palmstrom said. “She was in pain. She was upset. She was sad.” It would be more than two years before Adelaide’s last skull wound from one of those screws would heal. And the family’s attorney says the entire ordeal was preventable. “This was something that they knew or should have known was going to happen,” said Robert Glassman, an attorney with Panish Shea & Boyle…

Hilo, Hawaii, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, March 10, 2020: State confirms rapid ohia fungal disease on 5th Oahu tree

Hawaii officials have confirmed another discovery of a fungal disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of native ohia trees in the state. An ohia tree with the infection was found on Oahu near the popular Poamoho trail above Wahiawa. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources confirmed the tree was infected with Ceratocystis huliohia, the less aggressive of the two fungal species responsible for the blight. The fungal disease infected four other trees on Oahu and has been found on each of the four main islands. An aerial survey in November found Oahu’s fourth case of the fungal disease at the Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve above Tripler Army Medical Center. The disease was previously detected on Kamehameha Schools land above Pearl City and in two different residential areas of Windward Oahu. “That’s kind of a large area, so that leads us to believe that it’s fairly widely distributed on the island,” state protection forester Rob Hauff said…

US Dept of Agriculture, March 10, 2020: Why the Trees Outside Forests Count

Windbreaks and other agroforestry practices provide a wide range of agricultural production and conservation benefits, helping farmers and furthering the goals of U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Perdue’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda (PDF, 196 KB). Windbreaks are designed to increase crop yields, reduce erosion, and improve soil health while also providing other conservation benefits like wildlife habitat. However, an inventory of agroforestry practices, including windbreaks, has long been a missing piece of information. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” is a common saying in the USDA Forest Service as we strive to use data and metrics to better inform our decisions, a key component of the Agriculture Innovation Agenda. We want to improve our data, so we know we are helping farmers increase production while decreasing our impact on the environment. Recently, the Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Program and USDA National Agroforestry Center, along with several state and university partners, have worked together to advance the agroforestry inventory in the central Plains states agricultural region…

Quartz, March 10, 2020: Researchers are sitting on tech that could transform trees into power generators

What if trees could provide electricity to cities? Imagine the tangle of power lines, clunky solar panels, or bird-killing wind turbines replaced by beautiful and lush green groves that double as clean energy generators. This surrealist idyll isn’t too far-fetched, say a team of researchers from China, Italy and Japan. They’ve been working to harvest usable electricity from plants by experimenting with the “triboelectric” effect in tree foliage. The phenomenon occurs when certain materials that rub against each are pried apart, akin to how static electricity is generated. (The word “tribo” means “friction” in Greek.) As thrilling as this sounds, graduate students from Keio University in Tokyo have also paused to think through the ethical implications of such a powerful technology. Colombian-American industrial designer Catalina Lotero is part of the multi-disciplinary team, and explained their work at the recent Design Indaba conference in Cape Town. Leaves, which are positively charged, produce small amounts of electricity when they come in contact with the tree trunk or any other negatively-charged material Lotero says. The team is looking to build out this energy capacity into a “biological microgrid” called Raiki. They envision the technology as an alternative for communities underserved by traditional grids…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2020: This Old Metal Hook Could Determine Whether PG&E Committed a Crime

A 3-inch hook purchased for 56 cents around the end of World War I could help determine whether PG&E Corp. PCG -11.56% faces criminal charges for starting the deadliest wildfire in California history. Known as a “C-hook,” the badly worn piece of metal broke on Nov. 8, 2018, dropping a high-voltage electric line that sparked the Camp Fire, destroying the town of Paradise and killing 85 people. PG&E has hundreds of thousands of hooks, manufactured by a number of companies, holding up power lines in its 70,000 square-mile-territory, but the utility doesn’t have good data on how old they are, and is trying to replace many of them. Whether PG&E was negligent in inspecting and replacing these hooks has emerged as a key factor in a continuing California investigation that could determine whether the company and some of its former executives face criminal charges for their role in wildfires. “They’re excellent hooks if you don’t leave them up in towers for 100 years,” said Mike Ramsey, the district attorney of California’s Butte County who is leading the investigation along with the state attorney general’s office. Mr. Ramsey’s office sent pieces of the broken hook to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s laboratory in Quantico, Va., for forensic examination. He said he expects to make a decision soon on whether to charge PG&E, individuals at the company, or both…

London, UK, Citylab, March 9, 2020: London’s Trees Are Saving the City Billions

London’s leafy streets and gardens have long been prized for their beauty — and more recently their ability to counteract carbon emissions and improve air quality. But the value of urban trees can also be measured with money. A new report from Britain’s Office of National Statistics estimates tree cover saved the capital more than 5 billion pounds ($6.56 billion) from 2014 to 2018 through air cooling alone. Additionally, by keeping summer temperatures bearable for workers, trees prevented productivity losses of almost 11 billion pounds. The estimates underline just how vital the role trees play is in making cities comfortable and functional in a warming world — particularly in London. An unusually long, hot summer in 2018 pushed cost savings estimates to their highest level to date. Part of the study’s purpose is to promote planting trees and maintaining green spaces, according to Hazel Trenbirth, a member of the ONS’ Natural Capital team, which looks at cost savings of greenery across the U.K. “Britain’s trees have a value that goes far beyond what you can get from chopping them down,” she said…

Country Living, March 7, 2020: 7 trees and plants with the most invasive roots

Invasive tree roots are a common problem for many homeowners. If left unattended, aggressive roots will cause disruption to pavements, buildings and patio slabs. From fast-growing Japanese knotweed to the classic willow tree, there are many plants and trees to avoid planting in your garden if you are concerned about their roots. “Most trees and plants look impressive above ground, but underneath they could be causing havoc,” a spokesperson for BillyOh explains. “Take the humble mint herb for example, it’s easy to grow and makes a great addition to many dishes, but its roots are seriously invasive and can spread throughout your garden in a weed-like manner if not contained. “Similarly, thanks to the magnolia’s crowded under-soil space the roots occupy and the dense canopy of magnolia leaves, it’s almost impossible for any other plantings to thrive near it.” Take a look at the invasive trees and plants below…

Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, Old Mission Gazette, March 9, 2020: Bowers Harbor Park Trees Cut, Treated for Beech Disease

If you’ve noticed some trees missing at Bowers Harbor Park, that’s because the Peninsula Township Parks Committee approved the cutting of them due to Beech Bark Disease, a disease caused by both a sap-feeding scale insect and a fungus. According to this report over at Michigan.gov, the trees are first infested with beech scale. Scale feeding allows infection by the Neonectria fungus, which kills the wood, blocking the flow of sap. Affected trees decline in health and eventually die. While some of the trees – marked with two ribbons earlier this year – at Bowers Harbor Park needed to be cut down, others marked with one ribbon only needed to be trimmed. At their January meeting, the Parks Committee approved a bid of $4200 from Parshall Tree Care Experts to tend to the trees, including treating them with a spray in the months of July or August. This treatment, which needs to be done for two consecutive years, prevents the insects from boring through the bark and killing the tree…

Phys.org, March 9, 2020: Rain, more than wind, led to massive toppling of trees in Hurricane Maria, says study

A new study says that hurricanes Irma and Maria combined in 2017 to knock down a quarter of the biomass contained in Puerto Rico’s trees—and that massive rainfall, more than wind, was a previously unsuspected key factor. The surprising finding suggests that future hurricanes stoked by warming climate may be even more destructive to forests than scientists have already projected. The study appears this week in the journal Scientific Reports. “Up to now, the focus on damage to forests has been on catastrophic wind speeds. Here, the data show that rain tends to be the greatest risk factor,” said Jazlynn Hall, a Columbia University Ph.D. student who led the study. Her team identified several ways in which extreme rain might topple trees, but they do not completely understand the phenomenon yet, she said…

Kansas City, Missouri, Star, March 8, 2020: Letter – Sweetgum trees have no good purpose. KC, get rid of them

I believe the sweetgum trees along our city streets should be cut down. I realize this is a first world problem, but because I pay higher taxes to live on a boulevard on a corner lot, and because I am fined if I do not keep snow cleared from my sidewalks, I feel justified to have my complaints heard. Please let me state that I am a “tree-hugger” and have been since my youth. In fact, when we bought our home, I was attracted to its beautiful treed lot. But I dislike sweetgums and I hate their prickly little seed pod balls. The pods are a nuisance and are quite hazardous for the multitudes of pedestrians, joggers and track teams that frequently use Ward Parkway. This thoroughfare is home to numerous charitable runs because it is a beautiful, tree-lined boulevard. Therefore, in addition to keeping the snow cleared from our walks, I feel compelled to remove sweetgum balls. Countless joggers have thanked me for removing them, telling me about their falls and injuries from slipping on the pods under their feet…

Detroit, Michigan, WXYZ-TV, March 6, 2020: Invasive insect that weakens trees found in Michigan county

Hemlock woolly adelgids have been found in southern Mason County, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says. Infestations were previously found in Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon and Oceana counties. Hemlock woolly adelgids are small insects that use their long, siphoning mouthparts to extract sap from hemlock trees. Their feeding weakens needles, shoots and branches. Without treatment, infested trees die within four to 10 years. This spring, crews will focus on treated infested trees to prevent hemlock woolly adelgid from spreading further north. There is an internal quarantine in place for Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon and Oceana counties. The quarantine restricts the movement of hemlock nursery stock and unprocessed hemlock products…

Washington, D.C., Post, March 8, 2020: Tunisia is one of the world’s top olive oil producers. But now, it’s facing a crisis of too much.

Mohamed Sid is waiting for the lights to go out — not for lack of oil, but because there is too much of it. Unusually heavy rains have yielded a bumper crop of olives across Tunisia, and that oversupply has sent the price of olive oil plummeting, provoking a crisis in one of the world’s largest producers. Sid’s olive trees in the inland province of Kairouan have borne twice as many olives as usual, about 30 metric tons, but he says his earnings are just half of those last year. He cannot cover his costs or pay the electric bill, and he worries the electricity company will soon pull the plug. “I’m fed up, and I wrote on the farm wall ‘For sale’ because I can’t stand this anymore,” he said. With its largely chemical-free orchards, Tunisia is the largest exporter of organic olive oil in the world. Tunisian olive oils have won medals at international competitions in London and Los Angeles…

Nassau, New York, Newsday, March 5, 2020: Village officials may fell trees whose roots have damaged curbs, sidewalks

Officials in Port Washington North are considering cutting down trees that have encroached on sidewalks and lifted curbs to make way for a road repaving project and remove a safety hazard for pedestrians. “I don’t want to cut a single tree down in this village,” Mayor Bob Weitzner told the village board last week. But “it is at the point … where we as a board have got to address the problem, and it is not going to be an easy decision to make.” Removing mature trees can be a highly controversial move on Long Island, where residents have sued and expressed outrage over trees that were cut down for road projects. For Port Washington North, the infrastructure damage created by growing tree roots became particularly problematic this year, as the village plans to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to repave several residential streets in the summer…

Dundee, Scotland, UK, The Courier, March 6, 2020: Tree order on 35-year-old Angus specimens branded ‘rather unfair’ by householder

A tree protection order has been labelled “rather unfair” by the Arbroath house owner who planted the trees on his garden sand bank more than three decades ago. Councillors voted narrowly to confirm the order put in place by planning officials after proposals emerged to bring the trees down for development of a house in Colin Keillor’s Cairniehill Gardens home. The mix of specimens includes beech, horse chestnut, ash, sycamore, holly and pine. Official Alan Hunter told development standards councillors: “The trees are on a prominent knoll and are considered significant in relation to the amenity of the area. “It is a feature we consider deserves protection. We are satisfied the trees are healthy and don’t present any significant issues in relation to safety.” Mr Keillor told the committee: “I would question everything that has been said. The trees are of no value or significance. “These are trees I planted 36 years ago when I built the house – not all the trees are to be taken down. “Tree roots are causing the wall to bulge and we have had problems with limbs falling off. Last summer one fell across Cairnie Loan, fortunately it didn’t hit anything…

Phoenix, Arizona, New Times, March 5, 2020: Developer Concedes, Will Keep Giant Pine Trees at Controversial Alhambra Project

Nearly two dozen 50-year-old pine trees that were on the chopping block as part of a controversial development behind Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Phoenix’s Alhambra neighborhood will not be axed, after the developer ceded to outcry from nearby residents. At a community meeting Tuesday night at Washington Park, Ed Bull, an attorney with the firm Burch and Cracchiolo, representing developer Residential Pursuits, told the 40 or so residents in attendance (mostly white seniors, and many of them vocally miffed) that 18 of the 23 trees would remain as is. Five unhealthy ones would be cut down, and 38 new trees — half of them pine, the rest either elm or a similar species — would be planted. It’s a minor win for tree-huggers in a city whose Master Plan to plant more trees has all but stagnated in the decade since it came out…

Global Voices, March 6, 2020: A cancer treating yew tree is critically endangered in Nepal

With less than 500 mature trees remaining in the wild, Taxus mairei (or Maire’s Yew tree) is critically endangered in Nepal. While yews have been used in Nepal as traditional medicine for years, T. mairei is one of the major sources of the anticancer drug, Taxol. According to estimates, a ton of T. mairei’s leaves can produce about 550 grams of 10-DAB-III which is used as a chemical intermediate in the preparation of the anticancer drug paclitaxel (Taxol). The tree’s high commercial value has created a leaf harvesting business; however, T. mairei is only found in the wild in three districts in Nepal, and as its numbers dwindle, the need for a responsible and sustainable conservation plan is more important than ever. Paclitaxel, sold under the brand name Taxol, is one of the most successful and widely used anticancer drugs developed in the past 50 years. This anticancer drug was first found in the bark of the Taxus brevifolia (Pacific yew tree). All the species of Taxus are known to produce Taxol. Apart from T. mairei, another two species of yew namely T. wallichiana and T. contarta are also found in Nepal…

Fort Rucker, Alabama, U.S. Army, March 4, 2020: ‘Trees make good neighbors’ — Fort Rucker conducts tree replacement program around assault track

With its sights set on providing shade and natural beauty for future generations while protecting people and power lines in the present, the Directorate of Public Works is conducting a tree replacement program in the areas around the air assault track. “Like our other infrastructure that dates from when Fort Rucker was founded as a post, a lot of our trees in our central core area are just aged, and as they age they become full of disease, wind damage and things like that, so we’re conducting a project to replace them,” said Joseph Wyka, DPW director. A lot of the mature oak and other trees in the area along Andrews Avenue and Third Avenue date back to the 1940s-60s, according to Wyka, and now is the time to take action in assessing all of them, picking which ones to remove and creating a replacement plan to ensure future Soldiers, families and employees can continue to enjoy the shade and natural beauty they provide. “Trees are good neighbors — we’re excited about this project,” he added. While tree management has been a post-wide continuous process pretty much since Fort Rucker’s inception, Wyka said DPW Natural Resources staff began assessing the trees in the air assault track area in the fall and plan to start removing trees in earnest this summer…

Jacksonville, Florida, WTLV-TV, March 4, 2020: Overgrown tree on city property posing safety hazard to 77-year-old Jacksonville resident

During an I’m Telling Ken session at the Florida Cracker Kitchen, the On Your Side team heard from Shanda Suggs. “I am concerned about my father’s safety,” Suggs said. Her father, John Turner lives on West 9th Street in a neighborhood that needs some attention. Turner is 77-years-old. “He has his health struggles,” she said. “Every day he is walking with a cane with an oxygen container.” Suggs said the problem in his neighborhood is a city-owned tree and its root system. When he leaves home he has to walk past the tree and over its very overgrown root system. The roots are so overgrown they have become a safety hazard. “The city told me the tree is not dead, so is my dad going to be dead from falling over this tree,” Suggs said. While the tree may appear healthy, what the root system is doing is not. It is coming out of the ground and tearing the concrete curb apart, bulging from the seams. “I fear the worst,” she said. ” I want the city to give it attention.” Suggs said she was told as long as the tree is healthy nothing can be done, even though the tree is also destroying the curb…

Washington, D.C., Post, March 4, 2020: Cherry trees’ peak bloom expected March 27; festival organizers monitor coronavirus

A wet and mild winter will mean early blooms this year, according to the National Park Service, with the District’s famous cherry tree blossoms expected to peak March 27-30. Despite earlier concerns that the trees might bloom before the festival celebrating them begins March 20, the big question on the minds of city officials and festival organizers has been less about the flowers and more about the hundreds of thousands of people who come to see them. The spreading coronavirus has in recent weeks resulted in international travel restrictions, economic fallout and at least 11 deaths in the United States. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, where revelers can watch fireworks, dozens of performances, a kite festival and a parade, typically draws more than 1 million people to the Washington region. Concerns over the virus this year have led to some international cancellations. Two student dance troupes from Japan — one from a high school and another from a university — have withdrawn from the festival, which will run through April 12. One of the event’s Japanese corporate sponsors has issued a companywide ban on international travel, which means emissaries from the organization won’t attend the festival in Washington…

Washington, D.C., WRC-TV, March 4, 2020: Man Killed in West Springfield After Yearslong Fight Between Neighbors: Victim’s Mother

A 24-year-old man was shot and killed Tuesday evening in West Springfield, Virginia, and a 52-year-old man is charged in his murder. Javon Prather died after being found shot in the 7700 block of Bedstraw Court. Michael Hetle, also of Springfield, was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder. The victim’s mother says the suspect was her son’s next-door neighbor and that they had fought bitterly for years. Police declined to comment on what led up to the shooting and said they are investigating. Prather was shot at about 4:50 p.m. A neighbor said he heard at least seven shots. Prather was pronounced dead at the scene. He worked as a manager at Giant Foods and served in the Maryland National Guard for six years, his mother, Shabon Prather, said Wednesday. He had planned to reenlist and was a “good man,” his mother said. Prather and Hetle had argued for years, Shavon Prather said. She cited arguments over dog poop left outside…

Los Angeles, California, Times, March 3, 2020: PG&E tells judge it can’t commit to more tree trimmers to prevent wildfires

Lawyers for Pacific Gas & Electric said the utility can’t commit to hiring hundreds more tree trimmers in the way that a federal judge wants to cut the risk of starting more catastrophic wildfires in California. U.S. District Judge William Alsup ordered the utility last month to add at least 1,100 more tree trimmers to help prevent trees and branches from falling onto its power lines and igniting. The judge is overseeing PG&E’s criminal probation imposed after its natural gas lines blew up a San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood and killed eight people in 2010. He has taken a strong interest in PG&E’s safety record after the company’s power lines started a series of wildfires that killed 130 people and destroyed thousands of homes. Attorneys for PG&E said in court filings Monday that the company is unable to provide a deadline by which it will hire a set number of new contracted workers to cut trees and branches around power lines…

Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen-Times, March 3, 2020: Answer Man: Tree planting rules in effect? Better protections coming?

Question: … It’s upsetting to me hearing/reading about the hypocrisy of the, “Now that I’ve got mine, you stay out” mentality. This is so pervasive, in so many forms today. I have three suggestions that should make things better. TREES, TREES and TREES! How about a county ordinance that requires any developer plant two trees for every one uprooted? Simple right? Or, is something like this already in place?
My answer: My favorite recent tree protest came when a guy attempted to cut down a really old tree by an apartment development as a protest against the very same tree being slated for removal. But he only got part-way through with the sawing, as it was a honker of a tree, and that left a dangerous situation for all nearby motorists, as the tree could’ve toppled into the intersection at any time. So we were left with an unsuccessful preemptive tree cutting to protest an imminent tree cutting, with the final result being professionals had to come in and cut the tree down earlier than planned. Very Asheville. Both the county and the city do have rules about replanting trees, and developers often do plant a good number of trees once projects are finished. Essentially, they are going to meet the code requirements. But, you can’t expect them to replace a clear-cut forest with another forest. They’re going to plant young trees, in a landscaped pattern, around the new buildings. So when an entire lot has been cleared and graded, as has been the case recently on Long Shoals Road and on Airport Road, don’t look for the same number of trees to go back in…

Honolulu, Hawaii, KHNL-TV, March 3, 2020: Oahu Hiking trail closed after Rapid Ohia Death fungus found in another tree

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has temporarily closed the Poamoho Trail in Central Oahu after the discovery of another tree with Rapid Ohia Death. The state said the tree was recently discovered to have the fungal disease. Because it is close to the trail, Poamoho will be closed until crews can remove the tree, which is expected to take place this week. The DLNR said crews will also conduct tests to ensure the fungus hasn’t spread to surrounding trees. The fungus has already ravaged thousands of acres of Ohia trees on Hawaii Island, and has been found on all main Hawaiian Islands. Oahu only has five documented cases of the lesser aggressive strain of the fungus. The ohia is considered the most important endemic tree in the state, comprising approximately 80 percent of Hawaii’s native forests, the DLNR said…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, March 3, 2020: Peaches this year won’t be hurt by ‘lack of chill,’ says Texas fruit tree expert

The mild winter, coupled with what feels like an early spring, had me worried about peach season. That’s because peaches need a certain number of “chill” (very cold) hours each winter in order for the peaches to make in the coming spring and summer. The requirement’s different for each variety, ranging from a few hundred chill hours to nearly a thousand. Great news, then, comes from Larry Stein, Ph.D., Texas A&M’s go-to tree-fruit guy. “[It’s] been a relatively mild winter, but a pretty good chill year,” he writes in an email. “Bloom should not be hurt by lack of chill. Now we just have to dodge the late cold spells.” Those would be the pesky late-season frosts that sometimes bedevil Texas agriculture. But as long as we stay clear of those, we’ll be rolling in juicy Texas peaches starting sometime in May. First up will be the cling varieties. A good bellwether for the season’s start is the mid-May opening of Ham Orchards farm market store near Terrell…

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, March 2, 2020: PG&E Says It Can’t Commit To Hiring More Tree Trimmers As Ordered By Judge

Lawyers for Pacific Gas & Electric said the utility can’t commit to hiring hundreds more tree trimmers in the way that a federal judge wants to cut the risk of starting more catastrophic wildfires in California. U.S. District Judge William Alsap ordered the utility last month to add at least 1,100 more tree trimmers to help prevent trees and branches from falling onto its power lines and igniting. The judge is overseeing PG&E’s criminal probation imposed after its natural gas lines blew up a San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood and killed eight people in 2010. He has taken a strong interest in PG&E’s safety record after the company’s power lines started a series of wildfires that killed 130 people and destroyed thousands of homes. Attorneys for PG&E said in court filings Monday that the company is unable to provide a deadline by which it will hire a set number of new contracted workers to cut trees and branches around power lines. They argued they shouldn’t be forced into hiring a set number of people for “a single part of its multi-faceted wildfire safety efforts.” PG&E’s filing said the company has about 5,500 tree trimmers and plans to train about 2,800 more next year. But the company wants to use that pool of newly trained workers partly to replace out-of-state contractors who were hired at a premium…

Tallahassee, Florida, WCTV, March 2, 2020: City of Tallahassee removing “high risk” trees from Chain of Parks

The City of Tallahassee says it will remove five “high risk” trees from its Chain of Parks, since they have significant natural decay and structural damage. The city says it received assessments of the trees from internal and external experts, and they agree that the threat the trees pose outweigh their benefits. Scans have been performed on the trees for several years to provide more insight into their internal condition. “In advance of the busy spring season that brings thousands of people to our Chain of Parks, now is the appropriate time to remove the trees that are at the end of their lives. We are extremely grateful for the professional, thorough efforts of our arborists and community tree advocates who collaborated closely on this issue helping to ensure public safety,” Director of the City’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs Department Ashley Edwards said. “We are entrusted with being stewards of our natural resources, and we take that responsibility seriously.” The Florida Department of Transportation and the city will work together to make sure the tree removal process is safe. Work will begin this Saturday, according to the city. Nearby traffic lanes and sidewalks will be closed to protect the public. Drivers are asked to be careful when travelling near the Chain of Parks this week…

Los Angeles, California, Times, February 28, 2020: Is your tree on death’s door? Here’s how to tell

Worried about a sad-looking tree in your yard? Climate change, invasive species and even international trade are taking a serious toll on California trees. An estimated 150 million trees died during the drought that started in December 2011, according to Smithsonian Magazine, and the stressed trees that survived became more vulnerable to attack by a host of newcomer pests, said Philippe Rolshausen, subtropical tree specialist for the Cooperative Extension office at UC Riverside. “There are lots of invasive pests everywhere because of global warming and the movement of plant materials in general,” he said. Identifying specific tree diseases or pests usually requires an expert, but Rolshausen said three indicators suggest your tree needs help: yellowing leaves, a thinned-out canopy and branch die-back. If you’re willing to wait, researchers or master gardeners in the state’s county Cooperative Extension offices can help you diagnose a sick tree for free, Rolshausen said. Professional consulting arborists usually can respond more quickly but charge $200 to $400 for a consultation, said Darren Butler, a Los Angeles-based consulting arborist, horticulturist, landscape designer and cocreator of the GardenZeus.com. When you consider how healthy, mature trees boost property values, that’s a relatively small fee to pay, he said, but people often wait until it’s too late to ask for help. Search for trained arborists through the American Society of Consulting Arborists or the International Society of Arboriculture…

Davis, California, University of California – Davis, March 2, 2020: California trees are suffering under climate change and invasive pests

Trees are facing stress from a variety of pressures in California, including climate change and exotic invasive pests, reported Jeanette Marantos in the Los Angeles Times. “There are lots of invasive pests everywhere because of global warming and the movement of plant materials in general,” said Philippe Rolshausen, UC Cooperative Extension subtropical tree specialist at UC Riverside. Yellowing leaves, a thinning canopy and branch die-back are symptoms that the tree is sick. UC Master Gardeners, headquartered in UCCE county offices across the state, can provide free help, the article said. Marantos listed possible reasons for common tree symptoms: Yellow leaves: May be due to a lack of nutrients. A sudden jolt of fertilizer isn’t the best solution. Homeowners often remove the best fertilizer and mulch for trees — their own fallen leaves. Thinning canopies and branch die-back: May be the result of a soil-borne disease, such a phytophthora, caused by excessive water. “Homeowners have a tendency to over-irrigate a tree that’s not doing well, but soil-borne diseases actually thrive in wet soils, so that’s making things even worse,” Rolshausen said. “Trees don’t like standing water on their root systems because they can’t breathe…”

St. George, Utah, Spectrum, Feb. 28, 2020: Tree topping is ruining our shade. Watch out for unlicensed companies offering tree work

St. George is unique in the American Southwest because of our beautiful shade trees. These unsung heroes provide shade during our unbearably hot days of summer. Shade trees reduce the “heat island” effect that our streets and sidewalks produce. Trees help save energy by reducing air conditioning in the summer and wind reduction in the winter. They also increase property values and beautify our neighborhoods. When a tree is topped the tree sends out epicormic shoots or what we call water suckers. These new branches do not have strong attachments and can eventually fall from the tree. Trees cannot properly close these wounds, creating an avenue for disease to infect the tree. These issues can ultimately cause a tree to fail. Trees are highly compartmentalized organisms. This means they can contain disease and decay by growing thick cell walls around the infection. When a pruning cut is made in the proper place on a tree, the wound can heal properly. The best place to prune a branch is at the branch collar. The branch collar is a swollen area of wood near the base of the branch. When a cut is made just in front of the branch collar the wood is able to grow over the cut and compartmentalize inside the tree…

Athens, Ohio, Ohio University, February 28, 2020: Scientists show how soil changes may trigger rise of maple tree population in forests

A recent Ohio University study offers new information about how changes in the nutrient composition of the soil in forests could be leading to a rise in the maple tree population while suppressing the growth of oaks. The research has implications for forest management practices, as oak is a valuable source of timber and supports a diverse ecosystem of plants, insects and animals. “We know that over the last 30 years, the eastern deciduous forests that were once dominated by oak have been transitioning to maples,” said Jared DeForest, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Plant Biology at Ohio University and co-author of the study, which was published Feb. 17 in the journal New Phytologist. The scientific community has searched for an explanation, such as whether an increase in nitrogen in the soil — introduced through acid rain — could be a factor, he noted. DeForest launched an experiment in 2009 designed to simulate the impact of changing the soil nutrient composition on tree growth. Using three plots of land in southeastern Ohio — in young, middle and older age soils — scientists applied lime that elevated the pH levels (acidity) of the soil and/or added phosphate fertilizer. This created an inorganic nutrient soil system that would be similar to soil found in areas impacted by acid rain or farming, he explained…

Portland, Maine, Press-Herald, March 1, 2020: Hobbyist maple syrup producers get tapping in central Maine

Rayma Jacobs is 69 and has collected maple sap for about 30 years, a hobby she began with her father, Milton Hall. “When we had a farm, he had four maple trees and he’d do it for us kids,” she said. “We didn’t do it for years and years, and one day he decided that we should tap some trees. It’s not much of an operation.” Jacobs, who has 60 taps in Mount Vernon, describes herself as “an outdoor girl.”” I like doing it,” she said. Last week, Jacobs began collecting sap. She is one of many producers in Maine preparing for the production of one of Maine’s best-known products: Luxurious, sweet maple syrup. While larger producers often have sizable sugar houses and intricate tubing setups throughout a forest of maple trees, a number of central Mainers, like Jacobs, will collect sap by hand to produce smaller quantities for themselves, family and friends. Her setup is fairly modest: Jacobs still uses an old wood stove, built by her father, with the top cut off so it can hold a stainless steel pan. After the sap is given a long boil there, Jacobs takes what is left and uses an electric burner to finish it…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News, March 1, 2020: History is told through trees

Even though it may sound like I’m complaining, I’m not. I went to this kind of stuff before I had the high hour requirements that I have now, and enjoyed the chance — which I still do — to learn more about what I do for a living, and talk with other people who also work with trees. Since the Big Country is not an area that’s known as a great tree growing environment, and there are fewer than ten certified arborists in the region, as you can imagine, none of the tree-type organizations hold conferences or continuing education classes anywhere nearby. Granted, some of the things that I need continuing education unit points for aren’t done by tree groups, such as my Texas Department of Agriculture licenses — and I can do that locally — but most such events, for me, are going to be several hours away. Frankly, as much as I don’t like driving into, and/or around, the big cities, it sure beats the heck out of having to go to Austin or College Station instead (a lot of this kind of stuff is done in those two towns)…

Atlanta, Georgia, WXIA-TV, February 27, 2020: Neighbors concerned about safety after tree falls and kills woman in Buckhead

Neighbors are moving quickly to check trees around their homes in a Buckhead neighborhood after one came crashing down on New Year’s Eve, leaving a woman dead. Neighbors in the area of Ridgemore Road called tree services looking for answers on what to do with trees they considered dangerous. The concern was that these trees, if left standing, could hit their homes or their neighbors. One after another, they contacted Atlanta arborists for the okay to take down the trees they thought could fall. One after another, they got turned down. “We look at if the tree is dead; if it’s diseased or dying, and we just have to look at the entire tree – the canopy, the leaves, the trunk – and see if there are any cavities,” said David Zaparanick, arboricultural manager for the City of Atlanta Planning Department. But, if the tree is alive and well, Zaparanick said the chances are the arborists will not authorize the tree coming down. For the neighbors on Ridgemore Road, however, getting a “no” from the arborists was frustrating. Michael Milligan wants a tree down that he fears will fall on his neighbor’s house. “I am spending time, spending money, and taking time off from work to try and remove a safety threat and it may ultimately get denied, and that is frustrating,” he said…

Fort Bragg, California, Advocate-News, February 27, 2020: Tree removal part of PG&E’s public safety plans

In recent weeks, coastal communities have been the focus of multiple tree cutting services. Trucks, tree climbing equipment and the blare of chainsaws seemed to be everywhere. Contracted by PG&E, these crews have been trimming and removing trees near power lines to reduce the threat of wildfire risk. PG&E’s goal is to prune and cut along 2,498 miles of distribution lines, adding to the 2,455 miles of lines cleared last year. PG&E submitted its 2020 Wildfire Mitigation Plan to the California Public Utilities Commission on Feb. 18. The plan builds upon the energy company’s Community Wildfire Safety Program which was developed to address the growing threat of extreme weather and wildfires across Northern and Central California. Given the chaos caused by the Public Safety Power Shutoff events last fall, the company proposes changes. According to spokeswoman Deanna Contreras of PG&E, the plan “includes changes to make PSPS events smaller in scope and shorter in duration and to lessen the overall impact of shutoffs while working to keep customers and communities safe during times of severe weather and high wildfire risk…”

Vice, February 26, 2020: These Botanists Are Searching for Endangered Plants With Drones – Then Scaling Cliffs to Save Them

Adam Williams is dangling midair next to a rugged cliff in Hawaii. His life depends on the tree that his rope is tethered to yards above his head. It’s a fitting situation for Williams, a state botanist, who rappelled down the cliff to retrieve a rare plant growing on the rockface. Up above, drone specialist Ben Nyberg stands near the tree as a spotter, waiting for Williams to ascend with the Wilkesia hobdyi samples they’re after. Together, Williams and Nyberg are like the Indiana Joneses of plant conservation, leading the crusade to preserve Hawaii’s most distinct — and endangered — plants. Hawaii’s biodiversity is unique, largely because of its isolation: Nearly 90% of native plants don’t grow anywhere else in the world, according to the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. But that isolation has also left it vulnerable to threats like invasive species and environmental changes. So even though Hawaii makes up less than 1% of U.S. landmass, it’s now home to nearly 45% of all endangered and threatened plants in the U.S. Last year, Nyberg, the mapping and drone program coordinator National Tropical Botanical Garden, used a drone to discover a plant thought to be extinct…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WNCN-TV, February 26, 2020: Learn how the city of Raleigh responds to damaged trees on city property, and how you can, too

When trees are damaged on city property in Raleigh, who is responsible for taking care of them? That question came up after a viewer complained to CBS 17 about a dangerously damaged tree along a city street. Raleigh is the City Of Oaks, but we’ve got a lot of other kinds of trees, too, and sometimes they end up damaged and dangerous. That’s what happened to a tree in the vicinity of 6601 Pleasant Pines Drive, which was snapped in half during our recent snowstorm. The top half of the tree was dangling above the roadway — a danger to anyone passing beneath it should it let go. “We’d rather you call us and let us check it out and make a determination whether it’s on city or private property,” said Raleigh’s Urban Forestry Administrator Zach Manor. The tree was opposite a daycare center, which told me it called its private tree contractor but was told they couldn’t touch it because it was on the city right of way. When a viewer reported the situation to us, we sent an email with photographs of the scene to the city asking about it Tuesday afternoon…

Walnut Creek, California, Patch, February 26, 2020: Tree Removal, Including Oaks, Approved To Build Home

Asserting a property owner’s general right to build on his or her land, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors this week denied appeals by two homeowners in the unincorporated community of Saranap of tree removal permits earlier granted to owners of a neighboring parcel. Twenty-two trees, most notably two large oaks neighbors wanted preserved for stabilizing a hillside and for their beauty, can come down, with the supervisors’ unanimous rejection on Tuesday of the appeal of the county Planning Commission’s recent approval of the tree removal permits. The residents and their arborists and attorneys had argued that removal of the two largest trees, in particular, would damage the sloped property they’re on, cause drainage problems, hamper neighborhood views and lower property values. In fact, neighbors said the 2,527-square-foot house planned by Tambri Heyden and David Montalbo was too tall for this neighborhood…

Washington, D.C., The Hill, February 26, 2020: Panel battles over tree-planting legislation

The House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday juxtaposed competing visions for tackling climate change: reducing greenhouse gas emissions and planting trees to capture carbon. They panel considered a bill sponsored by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) that aims to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions on public lands by 2040 and a bill by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), which seeks to plant trees to capture carbon. Grijalva, who chairs the panel, criticized Westerman’s bill, saying it would not do enough to mitigate climate change. “We must not lose focus on what the science tells us we must do to stabilize global temperatures and avoid catastrophic impacts. This will require a lot more than planting new trees,” he said. “We must dramatically reduce greenhouse gases and get to net-zero emissions as rapidly as possible…”

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, February 26, 2020: Demonstrators strike a pose to urge city to care for Winnipeg’s tree canopy

Demonstrators stood tall and struck their best yoga tree poses at Portage Place mall on Wednesday, urging the city to do more to protect Winnipeg’s urban canopy. “We’ve got trees that are over a hundred years old that are going to get cut unless they get taken care of,” said rally organizer Lisa Forbes, who is with the Glenelm Neighbourhood Association’s trees committee. The association is part of the Trees Please Coalition, which organized the Wednesday noon-hour “stand-still” event along with the community group Budget for All. “There’s no waiting for it. When they’re gone, they’re gone.” The demonstration was a reaction to repeated warnings from Winnipeg Mayor Bowman that the city’s upcoming four-year budget will present “tough choices.” During budget consultations, city staff warned of potentially deep cuts to meet spending targets set by the mayor. That’s led to fears that funding for managing the city’s tree canopy will get chopped…

Washington, D.C., U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, February 26, 2020: After a Blight, the Trees that Survived Need Your Help

Humans adores trees. But humans also migrate and trade, habits that led to the accidental introduction of insects and diseases that harm trees and alter the landscape. Examples are easy to find and may be outside your front door: American elms that once dotted streets across America succumbed to Dutch elm disease. Now all colors of ash species – black, green, white, pumpkin, and blue – are threatened by emerald ash borer. The already uncommon butternut tree, also known as white walnut, faces the possibility of extinction from a mysterious attacker.Many invasive insects and fungi come from regions where native trees have evolved to resist their attacks. When these species enter the United States, they find trees that lack this resistance. There’s no immediate end to this dismal pipeline, but there is hope on the horizon. After a pest has moved through a forest, inquisitive scientists scour the woods looking for survivors. There is a chance that no trees will survive, but those that do may be worth studying. Scientists at the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station work with the agency’s Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetics Research program, also known as RNGR. They have identified lingering green ash trees that are demonstrating resistance. So far, 16 selectively bred varieties of American elm are on the market, and scientists at the Northern Research Station are breeding trees to improve resistance even further. Resistance in butternut remains elusive, but scientists in the United States and Canada, including those at the Hardwood Tree Improvement Regeneration Center, are embarking on a new plan to help save the species. Today, the search for ash and elm trees with resistance to emerald ash borer and Dutch elm disease continues…

Allentown, Pennsylvania, Morning Call, February 25, 2020: Forest fire at popular Delaware Water Gap hiking trail 95% contained; mostly gypsy moth-infested trees burned

A forest fire burning through a popular hiking area crossed by the Appalachian Trail and a major interstate highway was almost completely contained early Tuesday, New Jersey fire officials said. The fire began Sunday afternoon on Mount Tammany, a steep, rugged area of New Jersey’s Worthington State Forest and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border. Fire officials said about 80 acres burned overall, but no injuries were reported. Of the 80 acres burned, 78 were in the state forest and two were in the national recreation area, which is separate from the state forest, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area spokeswoman Kathleen Sandt said. “The number of acres burned in each area may be revised after a final assessment,” Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said. A cause for the fire had not been determined, officials said. Officials say it likely won’t be fully extinguished until expected rain showers pass through the area Tuesday and Wednesday that will soak any remaining hot spots. Chris Franek, the state forest fire service’s assistant division fire warden, has said fires on similar terrain usually burn upward. But he said Sunday’s fire, which started below a trail at an elevation of about 1,400 feet, burned downhill because the trail area is rocky and doesn’t have abundant vegetation…

Omaha, Nebraska, World-Telegram, February 25, 2020: What’s a ‘Tree Husker’? Students at UNL can now find out

College isn’t for everyone, but it can be for tree lovers. Students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln can declare a new regional and community forestry major this fall. Students majoring in the program can specialize in urban forestry management and arboriculture. They will learn about tree management in rural and urban landscapes, dive deeper into tree biological systems and address natural resource challenges, such as the emerald ash borer and climate change, said Eric North, assistant professor of practice with the School of Natural Resources. The new bachelor’s degree, which will be a part of the College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources, was approved with the unanimous vote by the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education. Students will get to climb trees and call themselves “Tree Huskers,” he said. Before Nebraska became the state for “Cornhuskers,” he said it was known as the Tree Planter State. The old name reflected the early efforts of pioneers to plant millions of trees. “By calling themselves ‘Tree Huskers,’ they are contributing to the history of Nebraska and its agricultural system,” he said…

Los Angeles, California, La Cañada Valley Sun, February 25, 2020: City to add tree-trimming notification rules to franchise agreement with Edison

Members of the La Cañada Public Works and Traffic Commission recently considered the wisdom of revising the city’s franchise agreement with utility provider Southern California Edison to include procedures for notifying residents and officials of impending tree-trimming work. The discussion arose during a Feb. 19 meeting in which commissioners reviewed the original ordinance, signed into law on June 24, 1977. The four-page agreement makes no mention of tree trimming or providing advanced notification of work. “Is there some way to put a document together that all parties would agree to that would provide some basic conditions … not to limit Edison’s ability to maintain its facilities in a reliable way but to do it in a responsible way, so the city has notification and can work with Edison?” Commissioner Eldon Horst posed. At a Jan. 15 meeting, a group of residents spoke out against what they called Edison’s overly aggressive trimming practices. Hillard Avenue homeowner Susan Prager described a deodar cedar trimmed within an inch of its life one week earlier. “They chopped off most of the low-hanging branches of the deodars which gave the street much of its grace and beauty,” she told commissioners. “There are sickening examples all over the community…”

Denver, Colorado, KUSA-TV, February 25, 2020: Removing rat-infested trees final step to reopening Denver park

A state-owned park once infested with rats is close to reopening in Denver. “It should be in the near future,” Doug Platt, communication manager for the state Department of Personnel and Administration said of Lincoln Park. “We’re just about to the point where we think we’ve got the rodent infestation issue under control, we’re getting these trees, which are a safety issue, addressed and we’ve cleaned up the grounds.” Lincoln Park sits next to the Colorado State Capitol, across the street from Denver’s Civic Center Park. In January, the Denver Health Department shut Lincoln Park down in an emergency action, which also forced about 100 people who are experiencing homelessness to move out. “We need to completely clear the park,” Ann Cecchine-Williams with the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment told 9NEWS back in January. “We’re looking at the rats. We’re looking at animal and human waste. We are doing this because it is an egregious situation here. It is a threat to public health and safety. There’s been a rat issue here for more than just a few weeks or a few days,” Platt said Tuesday. “This has been ongoing for actually a number of years.” He said the rats are the reason the two trees need to be removed. “What we’ve observed, and we’ve had an exterminator come out and check the area, but they basically burrow into and underneath the root system of the tree and then they dig up into and under the tree,” Platt said. “Essentially, it ends up killing the tree from the inside out…”

Stanford, Connecticut, Advocate, February 24, 2020: Eversource $83M trimming program to face ‘crisis’ of dead, hazardous trees

Eversource has announced a $83 million tree-trimming program to deal with “the ongoing crisis of dead, dying and hazardous trees continues to plague communities across Connecticut and threaten electric reliability.” The energy company’s comprehensive tree maintenance program is already underway along roads in several communities around the state in an effort to fortify the electric distribution system and enhance reliability for customers. Eversource will be trimming trees along more than 4,200 miles of roadside overhead distribution lines around the state. Among the 131 communities where tree trimming will be performed this year, some of the most extensive work is scheduled to be done in Waterbury along nearly 170 miles of city streets. Trees will also be trimmed along 124 miles of roads in Greenwich, 107 miles in Woodbury, 105 miles in New Milford and 101 miles in Westport. Other communities where tree work will be completed include Torrington, Stamford, Middletown, Washington and Wolcott…

Mining Technology, February 24, 2020: Tree Guards

When establishing trees, the first two years are of crucial importance to the longevity and success of the project. Tree guards are vital during this establishment phase, ensuring the plant has the best chance of survival, under harsh Australian conditions. Tree guard products achieve this by providing shelter for the young plant, by means of extra shade from extreme heat, protection from strong wind, and reprieve from frost. Tree guard products also protect the plant by creating a physical barrier between the plant and browsing animals. Tree guards also aid in the ongoing maintenance of a planting project by protecting the plant from spray drift during weed control programs and serving as a marker for watering and monitoring purposes. Tree guards are easy to install and come in a range of sizes and materials. The most basic is the two-litre milk carton guard. This product is the quickest to install and most budget-friendly option, making it a popular choice for large scale revegetation projects. The corflute guard is a much larger and more robust product, made from UV stabilised, corflute plastic. This style of guard will not only protect the growing plant but improve growth rates by providing shelter from weather extremes and preventing evaporation…

Phys.org, February 24, 2020: Forest duff must be considered in controlled burning to avoid damaging trees

Many decades of forest fire prevention and suppression has resulted in a thick buildup of organic matter on the forest floor in many regions of the United States, according to a Penn State researcher, whose new study suggests that the peculiar way that these layers burn should be considered in plans for controlled burns. In both the eastern and western U.S., one of the consequences of avoiding fires for so long in fire-adapted pine forests is the build-up of forest floor”duff”—a deep, dense layer of partially decomposed pine needles—that would otherwise not accumulate under a frequent fire regime, explained Jesse Kreye, assistant research professor of fire and natural resources management in the College of Agricultural Sciences. That accumulation of organic debris can complicate efforts to use prescribed fire as a forest management tool, he explained, and this buildup of duff, particularly pronounced at the base of pines, is problematic if there is a wildfire…

Fargo, North Dakota KVRR-TV, February 24, 2020: Fargo city commissioners discuss proposed tree ordinances

Fargo’s forestry department is hoping to implement ordinances for preserving and protecting trees across the city. During a meeting with the mayor, they talked about the progress that’s been made and what the next steps are for the ordinances. Since October, two task forces have been created to help implement tree protection guidelines. A draft of the ordinance includes whether private property trees should be included in the guidelines and incorporating specific construction standards for tree removal. “I’ve got a great team of individuals that are working through this, and it’s going to take us a little more time but I think in the end we’ll have several different documents and direction on where to go,” says City Forester Scott Liudahl…

San Francisco, California Chronicle, February 23, 2020: If accidental fire damages someone else’s trees, owner escapes responsibility

A 19th century California law providing double or triple damages for destroying trees or timber on someone else’s property does not apply to fires started by accident, the state Supreme Court has ruled. The law, enacted in 1872, applies to “wrongful injuries to timber, trees or underwood upon the land of another, or removal thereof.” It provides triple damages for harm caused by a deliberate entry onto another person’s property, and double damages “where the trespass was casual or involuntary.” And it allows lawsuits up to five years after the damage occurred, compared with three years for ordinary negligence suits. The law was invoked by a Colusa County resident, Vincent Scholes, whose trees were damaged by a fire in May 2007 that started on neighboring land owned by Lambirth Trucking Co. Scholes said a grinder operated by the company spewed out wood chips and rice hulls that blew onto his property and spread the fire to his trees…

Bowling Green, Kentucky, Daily News, February 23, 2020: Kentuckians plant trees to heal mine-devastated mountaintops

It looked like a scene of wanton destruction on federal land under the watchful eye of a U.S. forester. Two bulldozers plowed up and down a hillside, pushing over anything in their path. Shrubs and small trees snapped under the dozers’ force like kindling. On the barren ground where the machines had been, December rain pooled in muddy tire tracks. A single young oak that had been spared seemed, if anything, to accent the mayhem. “You folks have boots? Want to get muddy?” That was Patrick Angel, leader of this tour. Angel is a scientist who has made his career with the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, a little-celebrated unit in the Department of the Interior. For 25 years, he oversaw the process that may represent humans’ best attempt at total annihilation of land: strip mining and mountaintop-removal mining of coal. He told coal companies to do one thing when they were done with a site: Pack the remaining rubble as tightly as possible, and plant grass – the only type of plant he trusted to hold the ground in place. Then, in 2002, Angel realized something was wrong. The big, productive, life-nurturing forests of Appalachia weren’t just slow to come back; they weren’t coming back, period. Nearly 1.5 million acres, an area larger than Delaware, that should have had trees were little more than weedy fields. It was an ecological disaster, and Angel helped create it. “There is a tremendous amount of guilt,” he said…

Greeneville, South Carolina, News, February 19, 2020: ‘An ecological deadzone’: A Clemson professor wants to get rid of Bradford Pear Trees

A university professor wants to rid Clemson of Bradford Pear Trees, an invasive species that’s spread throughout the entire Upstate and most states east of the Mississippi. David Coyle, assistant professor of forest health and invasive species, is spearheading the Bradford Pear Bounty in partnership with the SC Forestry Commission and City of Clemson to replace hundreds of Bradford Pear Trees with native tree species in the Clemson area. Pre-registration is required and availability is limited to five trees per person and 400 trees total. The event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 29 in Nettles Park. Standing in the middle of a mud-drenched, three-acre field covered in dark, skeletal trees, Coyle explained the problem. The trees are Callery Pears, the wild version of Bradford Pear Tree. “It creates an ecological deadzone,” Coyle explained. “Even the grass is gone.” Ironically, the field, located in Pendleton, SC, sits next to a cemetery. The hardwood trees can grow up to 60 feet tall in thick copses and develop wicked-sharp thorns. Flora and fauna stay away from the copses – caterpillars don’t eat the leaves and the only birds who eat the fruit are starlings, Coyle said. The densely packed tree trunks block sunlight, making it near impossible for other vegetation to grow alongside it…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sun, February 23, 2020: When to prune trees in New Mexico

Question: When is the right time to prune ornamental and fruit trees?
Answer: Well, you’re not going to be surprised at this answer: It just depends. What are your reasons for pruning? Are your trees grown for their beautiful blooms? If so, do they bloom before leaves start to appear? Trees like redbuds and crabapples and shrubs like lilac and forsythia flower before they leaf out, and that’s a clue that the flowers emerge from buds growing on older growth. If you prune too much you’ll lose out on this season’s flush of color. It makes more sense to prune those just after they’ve bloomed. On the other hand, if you’re wanting to reduce the growth of a young tree because branches are getting awfully close to your gutter, pruning midsummer might make more sense than pruning in late February. As Ed Gilman explains in his wonderful book “An Illustrated Guide to Pruning:” “To retard growth and for a maximum dwarfing effect on all trees, prune just after each growth flush, when the leaves have fully expanded and turned dark green. Pruning at this time theoretically slows growth by reducing photosynthetic capacity and energy-storing wood (sapwood), which causes a dwarfing effect. Only healthy, vigorous, young or medium-aged trees should be pruned using this strategy. Pruning live branches from unhealthy old trees, including those impacted by construction activities, at a time of low energy reserves, during or just after the growth flush, could deplete them further of much-needed energy reserves and energy-producing tissue (i.e., leaves)…”

Palm Beach, Florida, Post, February 20, 2020: Goats chew their way through invasive Brazilian pepper trees in Indian River County

How do Brazilian pepper tree leaves taste? Not “ba-a-a-a-ad,” say goats blissfully munching on sprigs of the invasive plant. “They love this stuff,” said Steven Slatem of Melbourne, founder and chief executive manager of Invasive Plant Eradicators, as he chopped down a pepper tree limb with a machete and gave it to waiting goats. “It’s their favorite.” His company has a $24,000 contract with Indian River County to use his goats to help clear invasive plants, pepper trees in particular. Among the many benefits, it cuts down on the use of chemical weed killers that can pollute water and harm the environment. St. Lucie County is watching to see if goats are a good alternative before considering whether to follow suit, and Martin County is concerned about goats eating native plants. Indian River County has the goats working on two conservation areas: South Prong Slough west of Wabasso and Cypress Bend Community Preserve near Roseland. Both are former groves where invasive plants are replacing citrus trees faster than native species such as oak, maple, cypress and sabal palm trees can grow. The pepper trees are a scourge on Florida’s environment, pushing out native species on over 700,00 acres throughout the state, including sensitive habitats such as mangrove swamps along Everglades marshes and the Indian River Lagoon…

Phys.org, February 20, 2020: Over 100 eucalypt tree species newly recommended for threatened listing

The Threatened Species Recovery Hub has undertaken a conservation assessment of every Australian eucalypt tree species and found that over 190 species meet internationally recognised criteria for listing as threatened: most of these are not currently listed as threatened. Associate Professor Rod Fensham at the University of Queensland said the team assessed all 822 Australian eucalypt species against the criteria set by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. The results have just been published in the scientific journal Biological Conservation. “Our assessment found that 193 species, which is almost one quarter (23%) of all Australian eucalypt species, meet criteria for a threatened status of Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered,” said Associate Professor Fensham. “This is very concerning as eucalypts are arguably Australia’s most important plant group, and provide vital habitat to thousands of other species. Less than one third (62) of the species that we identified are currently listed as threatened under Australian environmental law, and less than half (87) are listed under state and territory laws…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, February 20, 2020: Tree removal along Connecticut highways unsightly, but necessary, DOT says

Those traveling along Route 9 in Cromwell may have been surprised to see hundreds of cut trees, including some healthy specimens, lying along both sides of the highway and wondered what work the state is conducting there. In the Middletown / Cromwell area, work is being performed near exits 19 (Route 372 / West Street) and 20 in Cromwell (which leads to Interstate 91 north and south). Thirty feet of clearance on both shoulders is the minimum requirement, which is standard across the country, according to Kevin Nursick, spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The statewide project is estimated at $40 million, and will continue for the next four to five years, he said. Routine maintenance — for safety as well as operational efficiency — stepped up recently after the state provided more funding. For decades, lack of adequate financial support prevented much of the tree work from progressing, Nursick said. “We’re playing a lot of catch-up at this point.” Not only could the public be endangered, but road crews, as well. Nursick acknowledged the view of hundreds of felled dead and decaying trees is an unsightly one. “It’s a big issue. We’ve been all over the map in Connecticut. You could throw a dart, and we’ve probably been there or we’re going to be there,” Nursick explained. During that process, wood chips abound. “It doesn’t really look good, and I don’t think anybody is going to disagree with that,” Nursick said…

Chicago, Illinois, WLS-TV, February 20, 2020: Chicago Water Dept. tests tree-saving technology in Andersonville

More than a dozen trees in Andersonville are saved, thanks to a new pilot program the city of Chicago’s Water Department is implementing. “These mature trees are one of the most valuable things that we have to keep us healthy,” said Lesley Ames, Andersonville tree committee member. Last year, the water department was scheduled to complete routine sewage maintenance and drain removal. To do that, they’d have to cut down trees around the neighborhood, some of them more than 100 years old. “It seemed to us to be an abnormal number of trees,” Tamara Schiller said. Schiller is also a member of the tree committee and has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years. “There were ten trees alone on my block, so we started looking into it and said, ‘Isn’t there something else that could be done?'” Schiller said. “The more people found out about it, the more people came out into the street and wanted to find out what was going on,” Ames added. People like Ames and Schiller talked to their neighbors, their alderman and the water department to find an alternative. After months of back and forth, they found one: a CIPP or cured-in-place-pipe. “This pilot program is actually going to give us an opportunity to come up with new technology to allow us to not remove all the trees,” Water Department Commissioner, Randy Conner said…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2020: Federal Judge Slams PG&E Efforts to Trim Trees Near Power Lines to Prevent Wildfires

A federal judge on Wednesday lambasted PG&E Corp. PCG 8.83% for falling behind on efforts to trim trees near power lines, which are designed to reduce the risk that its equipment will spark more California wildfires. U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who oversees PG&E’s criminal probation following its conviction of safety violations after a natural-gas pipeline exploded and killed eight people in 2010, said during a heated hearing that the company is once again in violation of that probation due to its handling of the fire threat. But he stopped short of imposing a new restriction he has warned he might decide to place on PG&E—forcing the company to tie an executive bonus program entirely to safety goals. Judge Alsup said he would make that decision at a later date. “I’m going to do everything I can to protect the people of California from more death and destruction from this convicted felon,” the judge said. PG&E sought federal bankruptcy protection last year, citing more than $30 billion in liability costs tied to a series of deadly wildfires in 2017 and 2018 that killed more than 100 people. It has so far agreed to pay more than $25 billion to settle claims from fire victims, insurers and local governments and agencies…

Detroit, Michigan, WDIV-TV, February 19, 2020: Developer takes city of Taylor to court after fines for removing trees without permit climb to $160K

A case involving vacant land in Taylor and the city is heading to federal court after a developer was fined thousands for removing trees without a permit. Murray Wikol owns a parcel of land at Superior and Pardee roads. He was working on developing the space. “We were cleaning up trees, refrigerators dumped there, dead trees, diseased trees, good forestry practice done by an arborist, and we went out and did the right thing and left 155 trees,” Wikol said. However, Wikol didn’t have a permit to remove the trees. He was fined $133,000. With interest, the amount reached more than $160,000. When he refused to pay the fines, the city put the property in foreclosure. Wikol called the city’s actions oppressive. “Selective enforcement — there’s a lot of other sites where hundreds, if not thousands of trees, are being cut down, and they just are allowing it in certain areas and not in others,” he said. Wikol pointed out a space at Inkster and Eureka roads where a developer was removing trees without a permit in 2017. He said that developer received a $250 fine, and there was no listing of how many trees were taken down…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, February 19, 2020: Whether to cut SC beach town’s trees will go to trial, judge rules

How short trees must be trimmed to restore the ocean views of beachfront owners on Sullivan’s Island will go back to trial, the S.C. Supreme Court has ruled. That could bring out the shears again on the 100-acre maritime forest that has become a scenic controversy in this reserved upscale community. And it all comes down to Hurricane Hugo 30 years ago. The court ruled Wednesday that a 1991 deed the town executed with more than 80 property owners along the dunes obligated the town to maintain their ocean views, but didn’t specify just how high or low vegetation must be cut to do it. The deeds were signed in the aftermath of Hugo as the town bought properties that had formed in front of the owners from piled-up shore-flow sand. The west end of the island, near Charleston Harbor, accretes sand diverted by the shipping channel jetties. Those dunes have now grown into a forest. The town wanted the dunes strong, to stave off devastation by another storm like Hugo. The owners wanted views. Nobody really anticipated getting lost in the woods…

Dallas, Texas, KXAS-TV, February 19, 2020: ‘Unhealthy, Damaged’ Trees Removed Along White Rock Creek, City Says; Others Cast Doubt

Dozens of trees have been cut down along the banks of White Rock Creek in recent days. Work continued Wednesday near the Cottonwood Trail, with workers using chainsaws and heavy equipment to remove the trees. Some of the trees were visibly damaged by the high winds of the EF-3 tornado that sliced a path through the area in October, but local environmentalists worry healthy trees are being cut as well. “I was shocked because I didn’t realize it was as thoroughly cleared as I had heard about,” Becky Rader, a former Dallas Park Board member said. The Dallas Park and Recreation Department issued the following statement Wednesday. In the aftermath of the October 2019 tornado and subsequent storms that heavily damaged city parks and trails including Cottonwood Trail, Dallas Park and Recreation Department authorized a contractor to remove severely damaged and downed trees on park-owned property. The work plan presented to the contractor stressed the removal of unhealthy, dying and storm-ravished trees…

Los Angeles, California, Times, February 18, 2020: In the Noah’s Ark of citrus, caretakers try to stave off a fruit apocalypse

It has been described as a Noah’s Ark for citrus: two of every kind. Spread over 22 acres, UC Riverside’s 113-year-old Givaudan Citrus Variety Collection was founded as a place to gather and study as many citrus specimens as possible — right now, the inventory numbers at over 1,000. It’s an open-air temple where innovations in irrigation, fertilization, pest control, breeding and more have allowed California’s iconic $7-billion citrus industry to thrive for over a century. When the trees blossom, or hang heavy with fruit of almost every conceivable shape and color — orange and yellow and purple; as small as a pinky nail or as large and gnarled as Grandpa’s hand — a stroll through the collection’s immaculately manicured orchards is downright heavenly. But now, an apocalypse is nigh. A bacterial infection known as citrus greening, or Huanglongbing, transmitted by the moth-like Asian citrus psyllid, has upended the agricultural world. It’s harmless to humans, but reduces trees to withered, discolored shells of their former selves that produce inedible, immature fruit…

Roanoke, Virginia, WDBJ-TV, February 18, 2020: High winds damage Virginia’s largest and tallest corkscrew willow tree

The recent high winds we’ve seen have damaged Virginia’s oldest and largest corkscrew willow tree. It sits along the Dora Trail in Pulaski. Arborists estimate it’s about 150 years old, which is very unusual for this type of tree. Typically, they only live about 50 years. Unlike your usual willow tree, its branches grow up in a corkscrew pattern instead of drooping down. Mayor David Clark said high winds upwards of 60 to 80 miles per hour caused two limbs to fall off. “Before anyone called me, I had seen it driving by. As hard as we’ve worked to try to preserve it, it made me very sad to see it fall,” Clark said. “A tree of this age is not as strong as it was once. The wind just took those out. The other parts seem to be stable for now…”

Fox News, February 18, 2020: Perfectly preserved 6,000-year-old leaf that fell from elm tree discovered by archaeologists

A leaf that fell from an elm tree more than 6,000 years ago was discovered intact by archaeologists in the United Kingdom. Scientists found the leaf — along with a selection of Stone Age tools and pottery — when they were clearing a piece of land outside of Blackpool along the coast of northern England. Lead archaeologist Fraser Brown told The Daily Mail that the finds were of national significance. “We have found extensive deposits of peat and marine clays which have helped preserve ancient plant remains and which yield information on the local vegetation, water, climate, and human activity,” he explained to the British publication…

Boise, Idaho, Post-Register, February 19, 2020: How to prune shade and evergreen trees

Question: I enjoyed your article about pruning fruit trees. Are other trees also pruned like fruit trees? Could you explain the differences?
Answer: There are some similarities, but also a lot of differences in pruning shade trees and evergreens. Other trees need a lot less pruning than fruit trees. Young trees need some help in developing major scaffold branches. The main job is to remove branches with narrow angles between the branch and the trunk. These narrow crotch angle branches are weak and are the first ones to break in a storm. I also like to leave branches on the lower part of the trunk temporarily. They supply food that increases the growth of the trunk diameter. I shorten these branches to about 6 to 12 inches and allow tufts of growth for the first two to three years. I then prune them back even with the trunk. Removing upright growing branches (water sprouts) is a good practice with most trees. Trees that naturally have upright growth of all branches should be allowed to develop naturally. There is no need to thin side branches the way we do with fruit trees. I usually remove a few branches that grow toward the center of the tree. I also remove some crossing branches unless the normal growth pattern is thick inner branch growth. It is never a good idea to shorten the height of shade and evergreen trees. Occasionally branches that are growing toward structures are removed. In this case, it is usually best to remove the entire branch back to its origin. Pruning around utility lines is dangerous and is best left to professionals. If a tree becomes too large for the area where it is planted, the best practice is to remove it and plant a smaller tree…

Nashville, Tennessee, WSMV-TV, February 18, 2020: Tree hazards to watch out for after a storm

Strong storms are notorious for causing tree damage throughout Middle Tennessee. After the initial damage is cleared, it’s time to take a closer look at surviving trees to see if there is any long-lasting damage that could cause long-term problems. Rob Kraker is an arborist with Davey Tree Expert Company. He says it’s important to keep an eye on the health of trees, especially ones around your home, sidewalks or roadways. “You wanna look for any cracking or any decaying,” says Kraker. “We also look for any mushroom growth or fractures in the roots. These are basically like the I-65 for all the nutrients for the tree.” Another very evident sign that you could have a dying tree, is large dead limbs. But not all dead limbs mean something is wrong. They have to be larger than an inch or two in diameter. “The little ones, those are not something to be worried about,” says Kraker. “It’s the ones that could potentially hurt you if you’re mowing the grass or where kids are playing.” If you’ve noticed any of these on your trees, you should call a certified arborist to come take a look. An initial consultation by Davey Tree is completely free of charge and could save you a lot of money and stress in the long run. Many times, there are steps you can take to nurse your trees back to health…

Boston, Massachusetts, WGBH-TV, February 17, 2020: Warm Winters Threaten Nut Trees. Can Science Help Them Chill Out?

In love, timing is everything, the saying goes. The same is true for fruit and nut orchards in California’s Central Valley, which depend on a synchronized springtime bloom for pollination. But as winters warm with climate change, that seasonal cycle is being thrown off. Cold is a crucial ingredient for California’s walnuts, cherries, peaches, pears and pistachios, which ultimately head to store shelves around the country. The state grows around 99% of the country’s walnut and pistachio crop. Over the winter, the trees are bare and dormant, essentially snoozing until they wake up for a key reproductive rite. “In the pistachios, the females need to be pollinated by the males trees,” says Jonathan Battig, farm manager for Strain Farming Company in Arbuckle, Calif. “Ideally, you’d like the males to be pushing out the pollen as the females are receptive.” In Battig’s orchard, one male tree is planted for every 20 female trees, though an untrained eye couldn’t tell them apart. “I know by just looking at them,” says Battig. “The buds on the males are usually more swollen.” In March or April, if all goes well, both trees will bloom so the wind carries the male trees’ pollen to the females. “For that to happen, the timing needs to line up pretty close,” he says. But several times in the last decade, that timing has been out of sync…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2020: We’re From the Government and We’re Here to Build a Bike Path

A handful of farmers in Ohio’s Mahoning County are getting an unpleasant lesson in government power at the hands of a local park district. Mill Creek MetroParks, a public agency governed by five unelected commissioners, wants to take over an abandoned railroad line running through about a dozen local farms for a recreational bike path. Last year, when landowners balked at the idea of strangers wandering across their properties, the park district decided to invoke eminent domain and gain right of way. “I asked the park representatives if there was any way we could negotiate on this, and they told me, ‘The time for talking is over. We’re taking this property,’ ” says Ohio state Rep. Don Manning, who tried to intervene on the farmers’ behalf. Rep. Manning, a Republican, has sponsored legislation that would limit the use of eminent domain in Ohio. The practice of government taking land for recreational uses—typically bike lanes, hiking paths and fashionable “rail trails” and “greenways”—is spreading across the country, marking a sharp and troubling expansion of eminent domain. The Takings Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment grants government the authority to seize property to be used for the public good, as long as government pays “just compensation” to the owner. Over the years, the Supreme Court has consistently expanded what is considered a “public good” to justify government seizures. In 2005, for instance, the high court upheld the taking of Susette Kelo’s waterfront home by the city of New London, Conn., so that a local development corporation could build high-end condos and a hotel. The redevelopment was intended to boost property values and increase municipal tax revenues…

Science Daily, February 13, 2020: Nitrogen-fixing trees help tropical forests grow faster and store more carbon

Tropical forests are allies in the fight against climate change. Growing trees absorb carbon emissions and store them as woody biomass. As a result, reforestation of land once cleared for logging, mining, and agriculture is seen as a powerful tool for locking up large amounts of carbon emissions throughout the South American tropics. But new research published in Nature Communications shows that the ability of tropical forests to lock up carbon depends upon a group of trees that possess a unique talent — the ability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. The study modeled how the mix of tree species growing in a tropical forest following a disturbance, such as clearcutting, can affect the forest’s ability to sequester carbon. The team found that the presence of trees that fix nitrogen could double the amount of carbon a forest stores in its first 30 years of regrowth. At maturity, forests with nitrogen fixation took up 10% more carbon than forests without…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, February 13, 2020: PG&E resists judge’s tree-trimming, executive bonus proposals

Forcing Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to hire its own tree-trimming workforce, instead of relying on contractors to keep vegetation away from power lines, would not have the fire-safety benefits envisioned by a federal judge or alleviate the need for fire-prevention blackouts, attorneys for the utility say. PG&E lawyers have also pushed back on a proposal from U.S. District Judge William Alsup to prevent the company from awarding any bonuses to executives or managers unless it fulfills certain fire safety goals. The restriction would intrude on the purview of state regulators and PG&E’s bankruptcy judge, attorneys said. PG&E’s filing came in response to two recent proposals from Alsup, who is overseeing the company’s probation arising from the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion and has taken a strong interest in the company’s wildfire problems. Alsup in January said he might impose the tree-trimmer requirement after the company admitted it fell short on some parts of its state-mandated fire-prevention plan last year. One week later, Alsup proposed tying “all bonuses and other incentives for supervisors and above” to PG&E’s fulfillment of its state fire plan “and other safety goals…”

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, February 13, 2020: Suspicious ‘tree crew’ questioned about ties to recent burglary: Orange Police Blotter

When two men came to her door at about 1:30 p.m. Feb. 8 to look at trees to trim, a resident, 84, became suspicious and called police. The cops had their concerns as well, since the crew somewhat matched the descriptions of suspects in a Jan. 22 burglary in which a couple in their 90s had two rings valued at over $22,000 stolen by two men who had come inside under the guise of borrowing buckets of water. Suspects with similar descriptions have also posed as utility workers in order to gain entry into roughly five homes in and around Cuyahoga County, and police in those communities were also contacted. But the man who had his wife’s rings stolen in January could not make a positive identification. Questioned was a Columbus man, 54, who was driving a truck when Orange police arrived, along with a New Carlisle man, 32, walking around the side of the woman’s house. He had active warrants in Strongsville and Butler County near Cincinnati…

Austin, Texas, KVUE-TV, February 13, 2020: 2011 Bastrop County wildfire: $5M settlement reached in case against tree company

A $5 million settlement has been reached after a tree-trimming company was accused of causing the 2011 Complex fire in Bastrop, the most destructive wildfire in Texas history. Bastrop County, Bastrop ISD, Smithville ISD and Bastrop County Emergency Services District No. 2 filed the suit in 2018 against the Asplundh Tree Expert Company for allegedly diverting crews away from a tree-trimming operation along Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative power lines. Drought conditions caused dry vegetation around the Bluebonnet lines, igniting the fires when trees fell on the power lines on Sept. 4, 2011. According to our partners at The Austin-American Statesman, the government’s attorney argued the fire had three starting points – along Schwantz Ranch Road west of Texas 21, in Circle D Ranch and Tahitian Village. The fire killed two people and burned for a month, destroying 34,000 acres and 1,700 homes. The destruction cut off five years of property tax revenue for the county, school districts and emergency services…

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, February 13, 2020: How to know when a tree must go — from a landscape pro

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? I have no idea. I leave that question to the philosophers and physicists. But I do know that if a tree in your yard falls on your house while you’re in it, you darn well will hear it. The sound will make your heart jump from your chest like the creature in “Alien” — and your emergency savings fund will disappear faster than a puff of pollen. That scenario was precisely the one I chose to avoid when I had the old water oak tree removed from my yard this week. The old oak was nearing the end of her years, two arborists told me. Hurricanes had damaged her once regal crown. Now, where branches had once been, open cavities pocked the trunk, opening doors for decay. “We won’t know till we get up there how bad it is, but I can tell you she’s compromised,” says Alec Lantagne, a certified arborist and partner at Central Florida’s Sunbelt Tree Service. He pointed to a section of root that was beginning to lift. “This indicates instability…”

Seattle, Washington, Times, February 12, 2020: ‘They are my family’: Stolen bonsai trees mysteriously returned to Federal Way museum

These weren’t just tiny little trees, perched in dirt and presented in pretty ceramic bowls. The two bonsai trees were family members; sturdy, sage stalwarts at the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way, where they were carefully tended to for decades. So when the trees “mysteriously returned” to the museum grounds Tuesday night after being stolen last weekend, well, people wept with relief. “These trees matter,” Kathy McCabe, the museum’s executive director, said Wednesday. “They are treasures. They have such deep history. “I’m going to cry. It makes me emotional.” The trees — a Japanese black pine and a silverberry, each worth thousands of dollars — were stolen from the museum’s public display at about 7 a.m. Sunday. Security cameras captured two people crawling under the museum’s fence. It wasn’t clear what they had taken until assistant curator Scarlet Gore came around a corner a few hours later and saw the trees were gone. Word of the theft — a kidnapping, really, for some people — spread quickly. The museum’s Facebook post about it was shared 3,000 times and reached 350,000 people. The New York Times called. So did NPR and CNN…

Charlotte, North Carolina, WCNC-TV, February 11, 2020: What should you do about fallen trees after a storm?

Last week’s storms brought down trees all across the Charlotte area. WCNC Charlotte Meteorologist Iisha Scott spoke to an expert on ways you can be prepared ahead of the next storm. An Allstate agent gave this advice: • Make sure you’re getting all trees trimmed and don’t forget your regular maintenance; • Keep an eye on older trees because they fall easily; • Make sure you have proper insurance coverage and an adequate amount of coverage. And while storms bring out a sense of community, they also bring out scammers. The North Carolina’s Attorney Generals’ office wants to remind you to: • Get a written contract that lists all the work to be performed, its costs and completion date; • Make sure the company is insured. You can contact the insurer directly; • Don’t pay upfront…

House Beautiful, February 12, 2020: These Gorgeous Eucalyptus Trees Create a Rainbow Effect as Bark Peels

At first glance, you might just think someone got a little carried away and paintedthose tree barks. Reasonable guess, but what if I told you that those colorful streaks formed naturally? And that these colorful trees are actually real!? Not all bark is brown, my friends, and these multi-colored timbers are here to prove it! Eucalyptus deglupta trees, also known as “rainbow trees” or “Mindanao gum trees,” are tropical evergreens known for their colorful, rainbow-like bark. Every season, these trees shed their old rinds, revealing a new variegated layer of oranges, blues, and greens. It’s magical, not to mention beautiful, especially since the tree’s shelling will never look exactly the same over the years. The large evergreens (which can grow up to 250 feet tall) commonly grow in tropical forests in the Philippines, New Guinea, and Indonesia where sunlight and rainfall are ample. However, they can grow in certain parts of the United States with similar conditions, too. Eucalyptus deglupta trees have been spotted in Hawaii and the southern parts of California, Texas, and Florida. However, as the U.S., is not the tree’s native environment (and the ones here were planted by seeds brought from other parts of the world), they typically only reach heights of 100 to 125 feet…

Syracuse, New York, Post-Gazette, February 12, 2020: Syracuse plans to turn down city heat by planting 70,000 trees

Syracuse is trying to ease the impacts of two of the nation’s biggest problems – income inequality and climate change – through a simple idea: Planting trees. Lots of trees. The city today is releasing an ambitious urban forestry master plan that calls for planting 70,000 trees over 20 years. That would increase the land area covered by tree leaves by more than 1,600 acres, resulting in a third of the city draped in shade. “Urban forests are our first line of defense in a hotter, more unpredictable climate,” says the city’s draft plan. “They function as an outdoor air conditioner and filter, water control system, wind barrier, anger and mood management program, beautification initiative, and even sunblock.” Syracuse and New York state are getting warmer. A Syracuse.com review of climate data shows the city’s normal temperature is 1 degree higher than it was from the 1950s through the 1970s. A 2015 study by several New York state agencies said New York state has warmed 2.4 degrees since 1970…

San Diego, California, San Diego Reader, February 11, 2020: Not wanted in Oceanside – more palm trees

Enough with the palm trees already! Joan Bockman is known to many locals as Oceanside’s unofficial Johnny Appleseed for native plants. She celebrates and encourages homeowners who introduce cottonwood or desert willow trees in their front yard. The former planning commissioner recently chastised the Oceanside city council for approving a new mixed-use downtown project that she says relies too much on Oceanside’s omnipresent invasive plant, the palm tree. “There are thousands of palms west of I-5, and more are being planted all the time,” says Bockman. ”I ask the city to adopt a proclamation of ‘No new palms.’ This means that for any palm planted, a similar one has to be removed.” Oceanside’s own tree census shows there are some 5,000 palm trees planted along Coast Highway, the beach-adjacent Pacific Street and on adjoining side streets. Those tall and skinny Mexican fan palms have been Oceanside’s iconic trademark…

Phys.org, February 11, 2020: Climate warming disrupts tree seed production

Research involving the University of Liverpool has revealed the effect of climate warming on the complex interactions between beech trees and the insects that eat their seeds. Masting, the process by which trees vary the amount of seeds they produce year by year, is a characteristic of many forest tree species, including oaks, beeches, pines and spruces. It is beneficial to the trees because during “famine years,” seed-eating animals (such as moths) are starved so their numbers decrease, while in the “bumper years,” seed production is so high that it satiates insects and seed predators, so that some seeds can survive to establish the next generation of trees. However, a study of beech tree seed production published in the journal Nature Plants, found that increased seed production due to warmer temperatures was accompanied by a reduction in the degree of year-to-year variability in seed production, and specifically a reduction in the frequency of the “famine years.” Thus, the main beneficiaries of climate-driven increases in seed production are seed predators, and not the plants themselves…

Futurity, February 11, 2020: City ‘Heat Islands’ Trick Trees Into Thinking It’s Spring

It’s a symptom of the way cities trap heat, researchers say. The findings have ramifications for people with allergies and anyone interested in the ecological impact of climate change, says Yuyu Zhou, an associate professor of geological and atmospheric sciences at Iowa State University and a coauthor of the study in PNAS. Researchers examined satellite images of 85 large cities in the US from 2001 to 2014, which allowed them to detect changes in greenness of plants and determine the timing when plants start to grow in spring. The data show the start of the season arrived on average six days earlier in the studied cities than surrounding rural areas due to the heat island effect. Little research has investigated the connection between the heat island effect and phenology, or the study of cyclical and seasonal natural phenomena, Zhou says, adding this kind of information will become increasingly important as scientists attempt to predict how plants will respond to changing environmental conditions, including climate change and urbanization. “In the future, we want to have more accuracy in our Earth system models to predict changes in our environment. Taking into account the interactions between temperature and phenological change in vegetation will mean those model predictions will improve,” Zhou says…

Salem, Oregon, Statesman-Journal, February 10, 2020: Sick of paying for plants, ferns and trees? In Oregon forests, they’re free with a permit

Few places are as dangerous as Oregon’s garden shops and nurseries. You walk in planning to purchase a bag of potting soil and, bewitched by green magic, walk out carrying a pear tree, blueberry bush, hydrangea hedge, carrot seeds, soaker hose and a new line of credit. Oregon is a resplendent place to grow all manner of fruit and fern, tree and root. But the price of plants often wallops the pocketbook. That’s why I was so excited about a program in Oregon’s national forests that allows you to get a surprising number of ferns, plants and even tree seedlings from the forest — all for free. With a permit, map and shovel, you’re allowed to transplant plants from the forest to your garden. Not only can it save money, but it makes for a fun outdoor adventure — it’s hunting, except for ferns. “I don’t think many people are aware of it,” said Courtney Schreiber, resource specialist with Siuslaw National Forest. “But it’s great program and open to everybody.” Officially, it’s called a “forest products free use permit.” You can get them at most national forest offices, such as Detroit Ranger District station east of Salem in the Willamette National Forest…

Daytona Beach, Florida, WESH-TV, February 10, 2020: Massive tree falls on DeBary home in apparent landscaping mishap

A large tree fell on a home in DeBary on Monday in what appeared to be some type of landscaping mishap. The tree fell on a house on Gardenia Street. A mother was in the bedroom where the tree crashed through and had just put her young daughter down for nap. No injuries were reported, but the residents have a big cleanup ahead of them. Relatives told WESH 2 News the mother had just put the child down for a nap in her own room, and laid down in the master bedroom when the ceiling literally exploded. Aerial video from Chopper 2 showed that work was underway on land next door to the house. A piece of machinery was next to the trunk of the tree that had fallen on the home…

Salem, Oregon, Statesman-Journal, February 10, 2020: Forest Service opens gateway through 560-year-old tree in Mount Jefferson Wilderness

It lived through the arrival of Columbus, welcomed Lewis and Clark to the West and survived the rise of Portland hipsters. But last winter a particularly strong gust of wind brought a titanic Douglas fir crashing down in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness. Normally, even a tree the size of a Saturn rocket would barely be noticeable when it fell. But in this case, it blocked the Jefferson Lake Trail, an increasingly popular path into a beautiful section of wilderness backcountry. At first, forest officials considered rerouting the trail around it, since nobody short of Sasquatch would have a chance of climbing over it. But then came an audacious idea: a team of volunteers and Forest Service employees would cut a pathway through it. “It was a really cool opportunity for people to basically walk through the tree and see all its rings up close,” said Jessie Larson, the volunteers’ trail coordinator for Deschutes National Forest…

Seattle, Washington, Post-Intelligencer, February 10, 2020: Bonsai trees from 1940s worth thousands of dollars stolen from Federal Way museum

Federal Way police were on the lookout for two people who allegedly stole two prized bonsai trees — both decades-old and worth presumably thousands of dollars — from the Pacific Bonsai Museum on Sunday morning. The two trees were stolen at about 7 a.m., Kathy McCabe, the museum’s executive director, said in a news release. Federal Way Police Department spokesman Cmdr. Kurt Schwan confirmed the time and said officers responded to an alarm call at the museum. Two suspects were seen on the museum’s security footage in the secure area of the museum, Schwan said in an email. However, when officers arrived, no suspects were found. The two trees were stolen at about 7 a.m., Kathy McCabe, the museum’s executive director, said in a news release. Federal Way Police Department spokesman Cmdr. Kurt Schwan confirmed the time and said officers responded to an alarm call at the museum. Two suspects were seen on the museum’s security footage in the secure area of the museum, Schwan said in an email. However, when officers arrived, no suspects were found. The trees were especially valuable because of their historical significance. One, a Japanese black pine, was grown from a seed in a tin can by Jizaburo Furuzawa while he was imprisoned in an internment camp World War II, McCabe said… 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, WPVI-TV, February 10, 2020: Researchers studying potential for maple syrup production in New Jersey

Researchers at Stockton University are looking for participants for a pilot program to study the potential for maple syrup production in New Jersey. On Monday, team members tapped maple trees in the woods at Stockton University, while mathematics professor Judith Vogel offered a taste of her homemade maple syrup made from her family’s trees nearby. “My girls have this understanding that things like syrup and honey take time. And it takes process and it’s years’ worth of work for a little bit of product,” said Vogel. The demonstration was part of the kickoff for a new pilot program, and researchers are looking for property owners with maple trees, especially if those landowners have multiple acres. “With the goal of letting Stockton students and faculty go into their property and take measurements to understand why their land is or is not good for producing sap,” said Aaron Stoler, assistant professor of Environmental Science at Stockton University. Stockton was recently awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study South Jersey’s potential for syrup production and its effect on the environment. “The soil quality on this land is great, the soil quality is not great. What does it do to the wildlife? What does it do to the other vegetation in the forest?” Stoler said, rattling off a few things for which his team will look. Researchers will focus mainly on red maples. They’re not as commonly used for syrup production as the sugar maple. But red maples are readily found in New Jersey and often cut down for firewood…

Greensboro, North Carolina, WFMY-TV, February 9, 2020: Be Storm Smart: Who pays when trees fall, what insurance covers and storm-related scams.

The Insurance Information Institute says no matter where a tree came from –your yard, your neighbor’s yard, it doesn’t matter. If it hit your house — your homeowners insurance will cover the cost. The only time your neighbor’s insurance could be on the hook for paying for your damage is if you have already notified the neighbor, your insurance company and theirs that the tree is a danger. This notification needs to be in writing BEFORE any damage takes place. Usually, the insurance company will cover the cost of getting the tree out of the house and repairing the house. But many policies don’t cover cutting up the tree and physically removing it off your property– that’s an out of pocket cost. Also, if the tree falls on your property and doesn’t hit the house, chances are your insurance will NOT pay for any of the costs. When you contract with a company for tree removal, make sure the cost includes the actual removal of the debris from your property. Many times the cost only includes cutting up the tree into manageable parts. Get it all in writing. If a tree or limb or even the carport falls on your vehicle damaging it, it is your car insurance that pays–never your homeowners. (Again, the tree rule for homes applies here too. It doesn’t matter where the tree comes from, it’s your insurance claim!) For this kind of damage to be paid for by your auto insurance, you need to have Comprehensive Coverage…

Arlington Heights, Illinois, Daily Herald, February 9, 2020: Where should you plant your next shade tree?

Beautiful landscaping can add instant curb appeal to a property. But beauty isn’t the only thing that makes idyllic landscaping attractive to homeowners. Some landscaping features, such as shade trees, save homeowners money while adding aesthetic appeal. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that shading is the most cost-effective way to reduce solar heat gain in a home. Shading also cuts air conditioning costs, which tend to be expensive in areas with warm, humid climates. In fact, the DOE notes that well-planned landscapes can reduce unshaded homes’ air conditioning costs by anywhere from 15% to 50%. When planting shade trees, one of the first decisions homeowners will need to make is which type of tree, deciduous or evergreen, they want to plant. Deciduous trees are those that seasonally shed their leaves, while evergreens are trees that keep their leaves throughout the year. Deciduous trees can help keep homes cool in the summer by blocking sun, and those same trees can be beneficial in winter after they shed their leaves by letting the sun in and keeping homes warm. But evergreens also can be beneficial in winter by blocking wind, potentially preventing cold air from making its way into a home through cracks in walls or around windows…

Washington, D.C., Post, February 7, 2020: A funeral for Hollywood’s ‘Witness Tree,’ a century-old oak made famous in countless movies

Even in death, the Witness Tree looked alive. With twin trunks and a regal crown of tangled branches, the gigantic valley oak stood in the middle of Hollywood’s Paramount Ranch for at least a century, perhaps witnessing enough films to rival Roger Ebert. It witnessed the making of silent movies and TV westerns, fake gunfights and real car crashes. It saw Bob Hope in “Caught in the Draft” and Sandra Bullock in “The Lake House.” And it witnessed weddings and parties too, hosting hundreds of guests beneath its leafy outstretched branches. But early in the morning of Nov. 9, 2018, it witnessed something frightening. The flames of Southern California’s Woolsey Fire ravaged through the Santa Monica Mountains, taking out a stand of willow trees before surging onto Paramount Ranch. The entire Western Town’s Main Street, recently the set of HBO’s “Westworld,” burned to the ground…

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, February 9, 2020: Will this wounded weeping willow survive? Ask an expert

Q: I had this happen last year to another tree. This one is a weeping willow. I know it is still alive because it is starting to bud. But there is a big wound in the bark, and it is cracking above it. I don’t know how this happened, unless it was a mountain beaver or “boomer” as they call them out here. (I live in rural Estacada) Is there a way I can fix this wound and save this tree?
A: As you can guess, we have no way of predicting whether an insult to a plant will spell its doom, or whether it will survive in spite of it. The photo appears to show no rotting wood, seeping or infection. If the tree is still creating foliage, then water and nutrients are being transported from the roots to the tree canopy, so the phloem and xylem are still functional. I think the best thing you can do is to wait and see, by regular monitoring. Don’t add anything — except perhaps some fencing around the trunk, but not near it, to keep boomers away. Here is an article with information about “dressing” tree wounds…

Atlanta, Georgia, WSB-TV, February 6, 2020: If your neighbor’s tree falls in your yard, who pays for cleanup?

If a tree falls in your yard, what you do next could save you money, a limb and maybe even your life. According to Trees Atlanta, the metro area has the nation’s highest “urban tree canopy,” defined as the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above. During the stormy summer months, fallen trees are fixtures in metro Atlanta’s landscape. The steps you take after a tree falls can mean the difference between headache and heartache. The first thing to do is call your homeowners insurance agent, said Bob Delbridge, owner of 404-Cut-Tree, one of the largest tree service companies in the Atlanta area. “Occasionally we will deal directly with the insurance company. But that’s more likely if there is a storm that covers a large area, like a whole neighborhood.” Delbridge said. “Typically, the homeowner deals with their own insurance company.” Where the tree falls determines who pays for what. “Almost everyone is surprised when we tell them, the way the law works is, wherever the tree landed, that person is responsible for dealing with it regardless of where the tree came from.” That’s right, even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor’s yard, if it crashes onto your property, it’s your problem. An exception to this, attorney Steve Goldman with The Goldman Firm said, is if the tree is visibly diseased or damaged. In that case, the owner of the tree might be held liable…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, February 6, 2020: Town seeks dismissal of suit over ‘nuisance’ Candia crabapple tree

The town is hoping a judge will toss a local couple’s lawsuit over a crabapple tree that selectmen have deemed a “public nuisance.” Town attorney Michael Courtney filed a response to Dustin and Jennifer Heiberg’s complaint on Tuesday asking a Rockingham County Superior Court judge to dismiss their case. The Heibergs took legal action in January asking the court to reverse the selectmen’s decision that determined the crabapple tree in the front yard of their home at 14 Jane Drive to be a public nuisance. The town has threatened to remove it if the Heibergs don’t cut back some of the small branches that have begun to stick out into the road. The Heibergs claim the tree isn’t a problem and that other larger trees in town pose a bigger hazard. They also argue that the town never got a deed for the road, which would make it private and would give selectmen no authority to find that it’s a “public nuisance…”

LaSalle, Illinois, Agrinews, February 6, 2020: Extending the life of urban trees

Many urban trees only live about 20% of their life due to issues like pests and disease, but mostly can be linked back to improper care and installation. Quite simply, a tree should live more than 50 years and up to 100 years, depending on the species. A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study analyzing tree life expectancy in urban areas averaged the typical street tree living between 19 to 28 years. However, the ideal lifespan of a white oak is 600 years and the average lifespan of a red maple can be between 75 to 150 years in the Illinois wilds. Urban greening through planting trees has increased in response to residents’ lack of interaction with nature and the benefits these trees provide the environment through services like cooling buildings through shade and cleaning the air and water through filtration. However, urban trees must withstand pollution, poor soils, limited leg room for roots and pressure from insects and disease and their health and cultural requirements are not considered or monitored. Maybe it’s these urban challenges that cause them to die young. What’s worse, most are planted incorrectly, giving them a poor outlook from the beginning…

Willoughby, Ohio, News-Herald, February 6, 2020: Geauga Park District checking hemlock trees for HWA insect

Geauga Park District is on the lookout for a parasitic insect that is harmful to the Eastern hemlock tree, one of the few native evergreens found in Ohio. The non-native insect pest from Asia is called the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, or HWA for short. It is very small and attaches itself to the underside of the hemlock’s needle base and feeds on the tree’s carbohydrates, according to a news release. Because the HWA has no native predators, it can reproduce in such large numbers that it will eventually kill the tree. To survey the parks for the presence of HWA and prepare ways to deal with this potential threat, the park district’s Natural Resource Management team has organized a group of six volunteers that are surveying 11 Park District properties this winter. “Eastern hemlock trees are also on many more acres of private property in the area, and landowners should be on the lookout as well,” said Land Steward Joel Firem in the release. Those who have hemlock trees in their yard or in their woodlands are asked to take the time to inspect them. October through March is the best time to survey for the HWA, the release stated…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal Constitution, February 5, 2020: The felled feeling of the Fed cutting down trees and Atlanta

You can’t fight City Hall. And it’s even tougher to fight the feds, even when you ARE City Hall. The city of Atlanta recently got a stiff arm from the U.S. government in the form of the Federal Reserve, that big marble building at 10th and Peachtree streets where kids go on tours and walk out with bags of shredded money. Except now the feds are shredding trees instead of cash. Let me explain. The whole episode began last year when officials at the Atlanta Fed contacted the city arborist to request permission to take down 12 elm trees planted out in front. The trees were located in the Fed’s Jack Guynn Plaza, a shady respite with benches in the increasingly built-up Midtown. The city initially gave the feds the OK to take down the dozen mature elms and replace them with four small redbud trees. But two women who live nearby — Tovah Choudhury and Sudie Nolan-Cassimatis — thought that was a terrible idea and appealed the decision to the Atlanta Tree Conservation Commission. “It was almost like a mini-park, a break in all the concrete,” said Choudhury…

New Orleans, Louisiana, KNOE-TV, February 5, 2020: Charity to replant Lincoln Parish trees lost to April 2019 tornado

A public charity is working to replace trees lost during the April 2019 tornado in Lincoln Parish. On February 8, 2020, RETREET will lead a coalition of local, regional, and national partners in planting up to 170 caliper trees, free of charge, at the homes of families in Lincoln affected by the April 2019 tornado. RETREET, a group that helps communities restore decimated urban forests, says families affected don’t have the resources or means to replace their lost trees. “It’s been a long journey back. RETREET’s volunteers and trees helped my community fill voids left by the devastation and bring smiles as we watch them grow – a symbol that life is returning and this will be a great place to live again,” said Rebecca Kasbaum, an Oklahoma woman who RETREET helped after a tornado hit her town in 2013…

New Scientist, February 5, 2020: Extinct date palms grown from 2000-year-old seeds found near Jerusalem

Seven date palm trees have been grown from 2000-year-old seeds that were found in the Judean desert near Jerusalem. The seeds – the oldest ever germinated – were among hundreds discovered in caves and in an ancient palace built by King Herod the Great in the 1st century BC. Sarah Sallon at the Louis L Borick Natural Medicine Research Center in Jerusalem and her colleagues previously grew a single date palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera) from one of the seeds. The team has now managed to grow a further six. The ancient seeds were prepared by soaking them in water, adding hormones that encourage germination and rooting, then planting them in soil in a quarantined area. The team used radiocarbon dating to reveal the seven seeds were all around 2000 years old. Genetic analysis showed that several of them came from female date palms that were pollinated by male palms from different areas. This hints that the ancient Judean people who lived in the area at the time and cultivated the trees used sophisticated plant breeding techniques. Historical accounts of the dates that grew from the palms in this region describe their large size, sweetness and medicinal properties. The Roman scribe Pliny the Elder, for example, wrote that their “outstanding property is the unctuous juice which they exude and an extremely sweet sort of wine-flavour like that of honey”. Unlike Egyptian dates, they could be stored for a long time, meaning they could be exported throughout the Roman Empire…

Sonoma, California, Napa Valley Register, February 5, 2020: New trees to be planted in downtown Calistoga

The city of Calistoga is in the process of replacing the decaying trees along Lincoln Avenue downtown with a few new species. The project is planned to take over the next three years. About 15 trees will be replaced this year, with 10 more next year, and about five more the following year, officials said. The majority of trees being removed are flowering pear trees, and also a few Chinese pistache, one maple and a couple of crepe myrtles, said Public Works Director Derek Raynor. Most were planted in the early 1990s and are almost 30 years old. On Jan. 31, Pacific Tree Care was planting a crepe myrtle tree in front of West of Poppy, near the corner of Washington Street. The tree will blossom with white flowers, to contrast against the red brick building, said the company’s owner, Joe Schneider. It takes about half a day just to take the original tree out, along with its roots and old soils, he said. Red maples and Chinese pistaches will also be planted downtown. Pistache blooms are mostly reddish, and are hardy, small- to medium-sized trees that can withstand harsh conditions and poor quality soils…

Sonoma, California, Napa Valley Register, February 4, 2020: PG&E tree work leaves trail of Upvalley complaints

A few months ago Beclee Wilson found five workers cutting down a tree behind her house north of St. Helena. Hired by PG&E, the crew had entered the Wilson property through a gate to an adjoining property, where the landowner had granted them permission to trim his trees. Beclee and her husband, John, had not. She approached the foreman, who said he was from West Virginia. “I told him there was a town named Beckley in West Virginia, just like my name. He said, ‘That’s where I’m from.’ I said, ‘Good, now go home,’” Wilson said. She managed to shoo them away before they could cut down the entire tree. But the incident is echoed by other rural Upvalley residents who accuse out-of-state crews hired by PG&E of haphazardly trimming and removing trees, failing to implement erosion-control measures, and leaving behind trash and dead trimmings that will only add to the fuel load. Deanna Contreras, spokesperson for PG&E, writes, “PG&E takes all feedback about our work seriously. The safety of our customers and communities we serve is our most important responsibility. There are several opportunities for property owners to voice concern regarding our work…”

Grand Junction, Colorado, Sentinel, February 4, 2020: 2019 snowpack eased beetle activity in state, but wet spring affected aspen

Abundant snowpack in Colorado last winter helped reduce 2019 bark beetle activity compared to 2018, but the wet spring that followed contributed to some defoliation of aspen trees, including locally, a new report finds. The U.S. Forest Service and Colorado State Forest Service recently released results from their annual aerial survey to evaluate the level of impacts to forest health from insects and disease. “Region-wide, the total acreage of new tree mortality attributed to bark beetles declined; however, large epidemics of spruce beetle and roundheaded/western pine beetles in Colorado continue to expand,” the Forest Service says in a report. Last year’s solid snowpack followed a 2018 winter that was the second driest in Colorado in records dating back to 1895. Dan West, a State Forest Service entomologist, said last year was “a good year for trees, which means reduced acreage in bark beetle activity.” More moisture makes trees better able to produce sap, which they use as a defense against insect infestation. West said it takes more than one year of good precipitation, however, for trees to get back to full health after drought…

Weatherford, Texas, Democrat, February 4, 2020: Texas oak wilt season: Officials advise halting oak tree pruning through June

It’s that time of year again where local and state officials are reminding residents to hold off on pruning their oak trees through June to help prevent the spreading of a deadly tree disease. Oak wilt is considered one of the most destructive tree diseases in the US and is killing oak trees in some parts of Texas at epidemic proportions, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. Oak wilt is an infectious disease caused by a fungus, Bretziella fagacearum, that invades and disables the water-conducting system in oak trees. “February through the end of June is oak wilt season in Texas,” Texas A&M Forest Service Staff Forester II Rachel McGregor, who covers the Parker County area, said. “If you are concerned you might have oak wilt, I recommend contacting an ISA oak wilt qualified arborist, your local Texas A&M Forest Service forester, me, or your local AgriLife Extension agent.” All species of oak trees can be infected by the oak wilt fungus, but live oaks and red oaks are the most susceptible. “Oak wilt is one of those diseases that can cause a lot of heartache and distress. In some situations homeowners have no other option than to just watch their oak trees die,” Parker County Extension Agent Jay Kingston said. “I have seen oak wilt in red oaks and live oaks in all portions of the county. If residents have infected red oaks, immediate disposal is recommended to help cut down the chance of spreading the fungus…”

Coos Bay, Oregon, World, February 4, 2020: Man admits to stealing trees on BLM property

A man was caught stealing two cedar trees last month. According to a press release from the Coos County Sheriff’s Office, a call came in reporting an active cedar theft in the Fall Creek area of Myrtle Point on Bureau of Land Management property. Deputies responded but weren’t able to locate the suspect. However, they did find where the two cedar trees were cut down and the missing cedar bolts. “Deputies received information from a witness about the suspect vehicle and license plate,” the release said. On Jan. 20, a deputy and BLM law enforcement ranger went to the registered address of the suspect vehicle on the 1600 block of Maple Street in Myrtle Point. While there, officers spotted the suspect vehicle and a large amount of cedar bolts in the yard, the release said “Officers made contact with James Baker, who later admitted to stealing the cedar bolts from the Fall Creek area,” the release continued. “Officers seized the stolen cedar bolts from the property.” James Baker, 31, from Myrtle Point was issued a criminal citation and released. He will also be charged with theft in the first degree. “Officers later received a timber value estimate that put the value of the two trees at over $1,500,” the release said…

PBS, February 3, 2020: Dog sleuths sniff out crop disease hitting U.S. citrus trees

Dog detectives might be able to help save ailing citrus groves, research published Monday suggests. Scientists trained dogs to sniff out a crop disease called citrus greening that has hit orange, lemon and grapefruit orchards in Florida, California and Texas. The dogs can detect it weeks to years before it shows up on tree leaves and roots, the researchers report. “This technology is thousands of years old – the dog’s nose,” said Timothy Gottwald, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a co-author of the study. “We’ve just trained dogs to hunt new prey: the bacteria that causes a very damaging crop disease.” Dog sleuths are also faster, cheaper and more accurate than people collecting hundreds of leaves for lab analysis, according to the study in the Proceedings of National Academies of Sciences. Citrus greening — also called huanglongbing — is caused by a bacteria that is spread by a tiny insect that feeds on the leaves and stems of citrus trees. Once a tree is infected, there’s no cure. The disease has also hurt citrus crops in Central and South America and Asia. In one experiment in a Texas grapefruit orchard, trained dogs were accurate 95% of the time in distinguishing between newly infected trees and healthy ones…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, February 3, 2020: A tragic reminder of the hazards of tree work

Edgar Martin Ramos Martinez called his wife and four kids in Guatemala every morning, as he did every lunch break and after he finished work as a Bay Area arborist. The 37-year-old would hear updates from his children, and he and his wife would discuss the future they wanted for their children and where the family could build a house in their native country. But Ramos was killed Jan. 27 in an unincorporated part of Mill Valley when a tree he and his colleagues were cutting knocked over a second tree that toppled a third tree that struck him. Officials determined Ramos’ cause of death to be blunt impact injuries and the manner an accident. A Marin County chief deputy coroner called the incident a “fluke.” Ramos’ death marked the first tree-related workplace fatality of the year in California, officials said, but it’s just the latest example of the hazards arborists face when providing a vital service to communities. Such deaths have nearly tripled across the state over the last decade, according to Cal/OSHA’s most recent figures, and officials and experts have become increasingly concerned that the public and even some workers underestimate the dangers of the industry…

Tucson, Arizona, University of Arizona Daily Wildcat, February 4, 2020: Gas can be removed from poplar trees to produce cleaner air, study finds

A new study led by the University of Arizona shows that poplar trees can be altered to produce better air quality by removing isoprene, a gas that damages air quality. Russell K. Monson, professor for the department of ecology and evolutionary biology and Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at UA explained the modification. “We engineered the process by which cells translate genes into proteins by constructing a molecule that neutralizes the messengers that carry the genetic code to the protein-synthesizing machinery of the cell,” Monson said in an email. “We then used a bacterium that is specialized for infecting plant cells to transfer our engineered molecule into some cells isolated from poplar trees.” Monson also said when they were certain that the infection had been transferred into the molecule, they cultured the infected cells and they grew and differentiated into a new tree, “but in this case with the isoprene emission trait neutralized.” After the infected cells developed into a new tree, the modified tree growth was tested at both Biosphere 2 in Arizona and experimental tree plantations in Oregon. The researchers repressed isoprene emissions from the poplar trees by using a technology that’s specifically used for genetically-modifying these trees called Ribonucleic Acid Inhibition (RNAi)…

Springfield, Massachusetts, WWLP-TV, February 3, 2020: Warmer than normal winter weather could cause trees to bloom early

A blooming tree reacts most to warming temperatures, so warmer weather in the winter can have the trees blooming like it’s already spring. Most trees go dormant in the winter until they can bloom again in the spring. But when the weather feels like spring, like it has been in western Massachusetts recently, trees can sprout leaves, flowers, and fruit early. 22News sat down with associate professor Rick Harper of urban forestry at UMass Amherst about when we can expect to see bloom again in Spring. “The real thing we’re concerned about is the fluctuation,” said Harper. “So we do start to see early blooms so if this warmer weather continues, well into February, we certainly could see some earlier blooms, and then we get concerned about early frosts.” A stretch of warmer weather, followed by a significant cooldown, can be stressful and potentially damaging to trees…

New York City, AM New York, February 2, 2020: More green for less green: NYC tree planting programs slows due to rising costs

In October 2015, New York City celebrated the final planting of its Million Trees program with Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg presiding over the installation of a lacebark elm in a Bronx park. Though this marked the official end to the city’s ambitious program to combat climate change, the city planned to continue the sped-up tree plantings to cool sweltering summer sidewalks. But that did not happen; beginning with the city’s very next budget year, the number of street trees planted began dropping and the decline has continued ever since. Only 6,646 street trees were planted in the 12 months ending June 30, 2019, one-third the 20,545 trees planted three years earlier. The cuts were forced upon the city due to rapidly rising costs for planting street trees, according to Department of Parks and Recreation officials. The average cost of planting a tree is $2,700 for the current budget year, nearly double the $1,400 five years ago. The cuts were forced upon the city due to rapidly rising costs for planting street trees, according to Dept of Parks and Recreation officials…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter News, February 2, 2020: Trees unfazed by winter winds

I can’t help but notice that we’ve had some pretty typical weather lately, where part of the day was really pleasant, then suddenly a north wind blew in (and by “blew”, I mean 20-30 miles per hour) and the temperature dropped like a rock. Oh well. Welcome to West Texas and its weather. Spring in the morning, winter in the afternoon, or vise-versa if that’s what nature has in mind that day. While you and I may not be particularly appreciative of cold, windy days, it’s a little different for trees. Some of our trees really need this kind of weather, and at this time of year. I joke a lot about how our northern neighbors in Canada are not doing us any favors by sending us blasts of cold air in the winter when we don’t want them instead of in the summer. However, as much as I would enjoy that reversal, or at least like to give it a try this coming summer, trees and plants have evolved to make use of the winter weather…

Washington, D.C., The Hill, February 2, 2020: GOP bill will seek to commit US to planting 3.3 billion trees annually

Republicans are putting the finishing touches on a bill that would cement President Trump’s commitment to a global initiative to plant 1 trillion trees, though experts caution that planting trees is not the most effective way to combat climate change. Legislation being drafted by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) that will be unveiled this week would commit the U.S. to planting some 3.3 billion trees each year over the next 30 years, an increase of about 800 million trees per year. “The pragmatic, proactive thing to do is to plant forests and manage them so that you’re actually pulling carbon out of the atmosphere,” Westerman said. The bill is just one component of a coming package of legislation from House Republicans that offers their solution to the climate crisis following Democrat’s rollout of their own sweeping plan that would aim to have the U.S. reach carbon neutrality by 2050…

Las Vegas, Nevada, Review Journal, February 2, 2020: Freezing temperatures can cause trees to lose fruit

If you have fruit trees, do me a favor. If you don’t know already, go outside and see if your trees are starting to flower. Many of you will know this already, but some people don’t go outside and look. Then the same people later wonder why their tree didn’t produce any fruit or produced very little fruit. Some peaches flower early in the spring and some later, and some citrus have open flowers right now. If freezing weather came through your yard, those fruit trees with open or partially opened flowers will lose fruit to the freeze. Some may even lose their flowers. If several freezes come through your backyard a week apart during the month, it’s possible to lose all the fruit because of sequential freezing temperatures. Last year’s fruit production was much lower than in previous years. That’s because we had three freezing events about a week apart that moved through the Las Vegas Valley in February, including one snow event. This reduced or eliminated fruit production on about two-thirds of the fruit varieties in the valley…

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, January 30, 2020: Homeowners Concerned: PG&E Injecting Chemicals Beneath Trees On Private Properties

Some homeowners are concerned after learning PG&E is injecting chemicals under trees near power lines on private properties in an effort to stunt the tree’s growth. CBS13 has learned that 3,700 Northern California homeowners recently received door tags from PG&E, notifying them that the utility would be injecting a chemical Tree Growth Regulator (TGR) at the base of some trees on their properties unless they contacted the company to opt-out. Joe Green of Ione, along with many of his neighbors, are among those opting out. “I don’t want to be the guinea pig,” Green said. “I think trimming is a much more viable alternative right now to having an unknown chemical inserted into our ground.” One of Green’s concerns is that there is not much public information about the potential health effects of the chemical. According to his notice, the brand name is Cambistat, a plant growth retardant and fungicide. The active ingredient, Paclobutrazol, is classified as a toxic chemical by the EPA. The chemical would be injected into the soil at the base of the tree where it is absorbed by the roots, reducing branch growth by 40 to 70% for up to four years. The goal is to reduce PG&E’s need to prune the treated trees under power lines…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WRAL-TV, January 30, 2020: New Mexico sawmill struggling under revised owl ruling

A sawmill is struggling to keep afloat amid a months-long court injunction that barred logging anywhere near Mexican spotted owl habitat in New Mexico’s five national forests. Mt. Taylor Manufacturing in Milan, New Mexico, was silenced in mid-December because of the court battle, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. A federal judge imposed the ban on timber activities in September based on a 2013 lawsuit by the Santa Fe-based environmental group WildEarth Guardians that claimed the U.S. Forest Service failed to monitor the spotted owl adequately. The bird is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1993. A month later, the judge allowed limited cutting, such as Christmas tree harvests, outside owl territory. The trees outside the owls’ habitat are juniper and piñon, according to Matt Allen, owner of Mt. Taylor Manufacturing. His operation uses ponderosa pine — the trees on which the owls nest — so the judge’s revised order doesn’t help his mill…

Phys.org, January 30, 2020: Trees might be ‘aware’ of their size

Trees are known for their great, but not unlimited, trunk height and diameter. They have evolved to develop a heavy above-ground biomass, but this integral feature poses a challenge to the trunk’s stability. Despite its evident importance, the principle by which plant stems respond to their increasing weight remains unknown. To address this question, a theory of “vertical proprioception,” a mechanism that balances the radial growth of the stem with the weight increase, has been developed. To study the theory, researchers at the University of Helsinki, University of Cambridge and Natural Resources Institute Finland manipulated the aerial weight of downy birch (Betula pubescens). The researchers observed that the tree was indeed able to adjust its stem radial growth in response to the added weight, and the strength of this response varied along the length of the stem. Furthermore, a degree of lateral stem movement was required for this response: static trees did not grow as thick as free-moving ones…

Anaheim, California, Orange County Register, January 30, 2020: Drummond: Trimming trees is costing more

The cost of maintaining more than 32,000 city-owned trees within Yorba Linda’s 20-square-mile area will jump 25% under a contract extension approved by City Council members at a recent meeting. The contract with the Anaheim-based West Coast Arborists will total $6 million for a three-year period through June 2022, up from $4.8 million, based on two more extensions allowed under the current contract. The company has been maintaining city trees since 2011. West Coast Arborists will work on more than 25,000 trees in the city’s Landscape Maintenance Assessment District, some 4,000 trees in city parks and about 3,500 along the streets. The prior 2016 contract estimated annual maintenance expenses at $681,500, but actual costs over the three-year contract term jumped 35% to $920,476 “due to emergency tree removals and other required work due to the drought,” according to a city report. An additional $406,503 for each year would be required under three one-year extensions, bringing the total cost to $6 million through June 2022. Consumer price index adjustments, higher insurance limits and indemnification language account for much of the added costs…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WTVD-TV, January 29, 2020: Raleigh tree service owner vows to stop cutting down trees to save the planet

Imagine taking over a business and growing it into a $5,000,000 a year operation. Now imagine making a decision that could cut that business by at least 30 percent. That’s what Basil Camu did with his Raleigh tree service company, Leaf & Limb. “As I was learning about trees, I was also learning about planetary health issues,” Camu said. “And I began to learn that trees can solve so many of those issues.” He took over the company from his father 10 years ago. He said the only thing he knew about trees then was how to cut them down. Now, he said he has learned a lot since he became a certified arborist or, as he calls himself, a treecologist. Some of his research involved findings by NASA. that examine the possibility that tree planting could help save our planet from the dire issues facing it like the loss of underground water and air pollution. His knowledge of trees moved him to make a monumental and potentially fateful decision late last year: Leaf & Limb will no longer cut down trees. It meant an almost immediate loss of business that could mean a drastic reduction in revenue. “Somewhere between one third and one half. It’s hard to say, but roughly $1.5 to $2 million,” Camu said. Now, Leaf & Limb will care for your trees, but they will not fell them…

Redding, California, KHSL-TV, January 29, 2020: FEMA expands dead tree removal coverage to private roads

After what Paradise town leaders say took months of negotiation and conversation, FEMA plans to expand its coverage of post-disaster clean-up in the Camp Fire burn scar to private roads. The impact of this new expanded coverage will be largely felt in Paradise, which has roughly 100 miles of private roads well-traveled by locals. The federal government usually only covers disaster-related clean-up near public infrastructure. “This is huge for the town of Paradise. Allowing the state to come in and remove those trees at no cost to the property owner is a very big help,” said Lauren Gill, Paradise Town Manager. “That said, we are still working with CAL OES to get a public-facing map that shows the eligible roads and properties. It’s not complete yet,” added Gill. Action News Now is working to learn just exactly which private roads will be covered by the state-sponsored program. County spokesperson Casey Hatcher said a map will be made available to the public sometime next week…

Real Clear Energy, January 29, 2020: Missing the Forest for the Trees: Woody Biomass Helps Cut CO2 Emissions

In the debate over fuels for energy production, we’re overlooking the most reliable cleanest option: Our trees. I’ve studied and written on this issue for more than ten years, and the facts lead me to conclude that sustainably sourced woody biomass is an environmentally sound alternative to fossil fuels such as coal in the United States and beyond. An analysis I recently published in the Annual Review of Resource Economics explains in detail the economics, environmental benefits, and social acceptance of wood-based energy development in the United States, mirroring the recommendations of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that woody biomass, when grown in sustainably managed forests and harvested following forestry best management practices, could help in mitigating climate change. Yes, burning wood pellets releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But these emissions are recovered within a year by the new growth on those forestlands which are supporting the continuous production of wood pellets. This creates an overall low-emission electricity generation system. An earlier study estimated that woody biomass from the U.S. Southeast reduces carbon intensity by at least 77% compared to coal if consumed within the country, and between 49% and 72% if the same is shipped abroad for use in countries like the Netherlands…

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, MV Times, January 29, 2020: Does the ‘tree of death’ grow at the Tisbury School?

Beside the front entrance to the Tisbury School, an evergreen tree grows against the brickwork. It appears to be a yew, according to experts. The yew is what Cornell University describes as the “tree of death,” and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences calls “one of the most poisonous woody plants in the world.” Ingestion of yew can be fatal to people and animals, according to the American Conifer Society. “All species of yew contain highly poisonous alkaloids known as taxanes,” according to the society website. “All parts of the tree except the arils contain the alkaloid. The arils are edible and sweet, but the seed is dangerously poisonous; unlike birds, the human stomach can break down the seed coat and release the taxanes into the body. This can have fatal results if yew ‘berries’ are eaten without removing the seeds first. Grazing animals, particularly cattle and horses, are also sometimes found dead near yew trees after eating the leaves, though deer are able to break down the poisons, and will eat yew foliage freely.” Shown photographs of the plant, Tim Boland of Polly Hill Arboretum, Marc Fournier of Mytoi Japanese garden, and John Delrosso of the Arnold Arboretum thought the plant looked like a yew. When the possibility a poisonous plant on the school grounds was pointed out to Superintendent of Schools Matt D’Andrea, he said if it proved to be true, the plant would likely be removed…

UPI, January 29, 2020: Oak leaves contain ‘potential cure’ for citrus greening disease, researchers say

Scientists in Florida have confirmed what some citrus growers suspected for years — that oak trees could inhibit citrus greening disease, which has brought the once-thriving Florida industry to the brink of collapse. Oak leaves represent “the first potential organic cure” for the destructive tree sickness, said Lorenzo Rossi, a University of Florida biologist and co-author of a study published in the January issue of the journal Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. Research over the past year at a University of Florida greenhouse in Fort Pierce showed that citrus trees recovered from citrus greening when sprayed and drenched with treated water twice a week for two months. The water was treated by steeping chopped oak leaves in it overnight, allowing leaf compounds to leach out, according to the published findings. The findings bring new hope to Florida’s citrus growers, said Andrew Meadows, director of communication at Florida Citrus Mutual, a trade association. “We all are watching closely, and it sounds promising,” Meadows said. “This has been a curiosity in the industry for a year now” as word of the study traveled through the farming community. “Growers knew that oak trees provided some protection, but not why…”

Mill Valley, California, Patch, January 28, 2020: Tree Trimmer Killed By Falling Tree In Mill Valley

A tree service worker was killed when a tree fell on him Monday morning in Mill Valley. Edgar Martin Ramos Martinez, 37, was a native of Guatemala who was living in San Rafael, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. Martinez was removing trees on behalf of a homeowners’ association between Blue Jay Way and Chamberlain Court when he was struck by a falling tree and suffered traumatic head and body injuries, Chief Deputy Coroner Roger Fielding said. Martinez was in cardiopulmonary arrest when paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A forensic postmortem exam and toxicology testing have been scheduled for later this week. “The Marin County Sheriff’s Office and personnel of the Coroner Division offers our best wishes and condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Ramos Martinez,” Fielding said. The Sheriff’s Office and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) are investigating the death…

Boston, Massachusetts, MIT Technology Review, January 28, 2020: “A Trillion Trees” is a great idea—that could become a dangerous climate distraction

Signing on to the Trillion Tree initiative was basically the cost of admission for the global elite at this year’s World Economic Forum (well, that plus tens of thousands of dollars for the badge). In fact, tree planting was the rare issue on which even Jane Goodall and Donald Trump could get on the same page at Davos. Meanwhile, Axios revealed last week that Congressman Bruce Westerman, an Arkansas Republican, is working on a bill dubbed the Trillion Trees Act that would set a national target for tree planting (although apparently it won’t be—and almost certainly couldn’t be—a literal trillion). It’s great that trees are having a moment. Nations absolutely should plant and protect as many as possible—to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, provide habitat for animals, and restore fragile ecosystems. “Trees are an important, very visible, and very socializable answer,” says Roger Aines, who leads Lawrence Livermore National Lab’s Carbon Initiative, a research program on carbon dioxide removal. But it’s also a limited and unreliable way of addressing climate change. We have a terrible track record on carrying out reforestation efforts to date. We’d have to plant and protect a massive number of trees for decades to offset even a fraction of global emissions. And years of efforts can be nullified by droughts, wildfires, disease, or deforestation elsewhere…

Vancouver, British Columbia, January 28, 2020: B.C. woman on hook for cleanup costs for removal of tree near power lines

A B.C. woman is on the hook for cleanup costs after a large tree on her property deemed too close to power lines was cut down last week. Leigha Hamelin of Castlegar says she was shocked when she came home last Wednesday to find a tree service company cutting down the tree on the edge of her downtown property. Worse, she said, was that the work crew hired by FortisBC left the mess behind and that she has to foot the cleanup bill. A single mom with two small children, Hamelin said she asked the tree service company about cleanup costs, and was told the price would be about $200 an hour, with time ranging between two and three hours. Hamelin says she looked on FortisBC’s website and found information that said prior to taking down any tree, they make contact with the homeowner, then take the danger tree down in a safe manner…

Worcester, Massachusetts, Telegram, January 27, 2020: After infested tree found in Auburn, search for Asian longhorned beetles continues

Another tree has been discovered in the area that was infested with Asian longhorned beetles, according to the U.S. Department of agriculture. The tree was discovered at the town-owned Pakachoag Golf Course on Jan. 14. Survey crews continue to search trees on public and private property. But the recent discovery of the infested tree is not related to an ongoing search, officials said Monday. Workers will be seen in the area as the search continues, said Rhonda Santos, spokeswoman for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. A part of the area south of Route 20 is in the quarantine zone, and some residents have been notified that crews will inspect some trees in the area. The ALB quarantine zone is not expanding, Santos said. She said the agency has survey crews this week in Auburn. Most of the surveyors are with a subcontractor, Davey Tree Expert Co. Robert Platukis of Millbury Street said he received a written notice over the weekend that tree workers would be on his property inspecting trees for signs of the bugs. “We recently did find an infested tree in Auburn, one tree on the Pakachoag Golf Course, where survey staff was surveying. Staff surveyed that area last week and did not find any more infested trees, but we are sending tree climbers to conduct additional surveys to be sure, and they will be in that area for one to two weeks,” she said…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, January 27, 2020: Deer going buck wild on trunks? How to save a tree after antler rub damage

Q: I just discovered some damage from deer rubs to the trunks of a couple of my trees. Will the trees be OK, and what can I do to protect them in the future?
A: Bucks can cause significant damage to young trees in the fall by rubbing their antlers on trunks. Male deer clean their antlers of summer velvet from early September through November while also marking their territory during the breeding season. The bucks repeatedly strike trees for noise effect to show dominance and intimidate other bucks. They also coat the twigs and bark with scent from glands in their faces and underbodies to mark their territory.Young trees that are 1 to 6 inches in diameter with smooth bark — such as maples, lindens, birches and magnolias — are most likely to be damaged by deer rubs. Larger trees with smooth bark, as well as clump-form trees, can also be damaged. I have seen aspen trees in Winnetka that are more than 10 inches in diameter incur major damage from buck rubs — buck territory includes many home gardens in this area. The damage to trees from buck rubs comes from the shredding of bark from a foot or so above the ground to 3 to 5 feet up the trunk. Young trees have very thin bark that is easily damaged. Usually, the damage is done over a 24-hour period. The tree’s vascular system — which is just below the bark and transports water, nutrients and food between the roots and leaves — gets damaged, and the underlying wood is exposed. If rubbed all the way around, the trunk will be girdled, resulting in the eventual death of the tree in one to three years. If the damage is mostly located vertically on the trunk and does not go all around it, the tree can survive, although it may die on the side where the damage occurred…

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, The Oklahoman, January 27, 2020: Nature & you: Brazen black walnut rustlers steal trees in daylight hours

Back in Oklahoma’s early years, cattle rustling was an all-too-common criminal activity. Oddly enough, it is a crime that still has its adherents even in today’s modern age. Sort of an off-shoot of this is tree rustling. Our state’s native black walnut trees are bearing the brunt of this crime. Cattle ranchers have been battling back on the bovine thefts. They take on the Herculean task of marking the individual livestock in their cattle herds with I.D. markers. Special employees (stock detectives) have even been hired in order to come to grips with this perplexing criminal activity. It’s a much different world when comparisons and contrasts are done between cattle rustling and tree theft. Those persons that purloin walnut trees they do not own do so in broad daylight in municipal lawns. The large, stately walnut trees that play a major role as the prominent shade tree in a home’s street-facing lawn are all too susceptible to theft. The interior wood of a walnut tree fetches a premium price on today’s market. The central trunk of a walnut tree can be milled to a paper-thin veneer that can be glued to a furniture framework. The tree’s beautiful wood grain and pleasing color have the potential to transform a ho-hum pine wood table into a magnificently beautiful piece of furniture art…

Syracuse, New York, Post-Standard, January 27, 2020: Tree falls on man’s head as he cuts it down in Oneida County, police say

Emergency crews rushed to get to a man in the woods after a tree fell on his head Monday afternoon, Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said in a news release. The man, whose name was not released, was cutting down a tree in a wooded area off Evans Road in the town of Steuben when the logging accident happened, the sheriff said. Someone called 911 at 4:57 p.m. to report the man had been struck in the head by the tree he had been cutting down. Road patrol deputies walked about a half-mile into the woods and found the injured man, Maciol said in the release…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, January 26, 2020: Where have all the trees gone? Cuyahoga tree canopy shrinks by 6,600 acres; Lakewood hardest hit

Nothing looks obviously out of kilter on a crisp winter day in Lakewood’s tony Clifton Park neighborhood, where beautiful mansions command stunning views of Lake Erie. But Cuyahoga County’s newest urban tree canopy assessment, released last month, shows that the neighborhood has suffered one of the highest levels of tree losses in the county over the past decade. Clifton Park is a snapshot of what tree advocates are calling an emergency for climate resilience, natural habitat, property values and human health Lakewood topped all 59 Cuyahoga communities with an 18.5% loss in its tree canopy, according to the assessment, which analyzes data gathered in 2017 to determine rates of change since an earlier report based on 2011 data. Clifton Park shows up as a bright red hot spot in the Urban Tree Canopy Viewer on the new county webpage brimming with navigable maps and data about the county’s growing bald patches. The neighborhood accounted for 20% of Lakewood’s losses between 2011 and 2017. That amounts to 37 acres of tree cover out of 182 acres lost in the city, according to a local report by Lakewood’s urban forester, Chris Perry. Overall, the county’s tree canopy — the layer of leaves, branches and trunks of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above — fell from 37% to 35% of its land area…

NPR, January 26, 2020: Bigleaf Maple Syrup Flows As Profits Drip From Once-Maligned Northwest Tree

There’s probably more written on how to kill a bigleaf maple tree than how to grow one, according to Neil McLeod of Neil’s Bigleaf Maple Syrup, a farm in the tiny northwestern Washington burg of Acme. “It’s hard to kill,” McLeod says with a wry smile. “A great tree. Perfect weed. It makes good syrup.” In his humid, densely-scented sugar barn puffy steam pours out of an evaporator through several big stacks and into the cold winter air. The damp perfume permeates his T-shirt and clouds his glasses as he leans over the vats, inspecting them for any out-of-control foaming. McLeod has become intensely interested in how to better grow the West Coast’s native bigleaf maple tree — because he’s started tapping them by the hundreds for his boutique syrup business…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, January 26, 2020: How to protect tree trunks from sunscald

After last week’s column on transplanting 8-year-old plum trees was published, City of Las Cruces Community Forester Jimmy Zabriskie contacted me about another important consideration: sunscald. Zabriskie pointed out that care should be taken to be sure transplants are oriented in the same direction in their new spot as they were when they were originally planted. The concern here is that the southwest side of the trunk may have already been hardened and is better able to withstand afternoon sun during winter months. If a tree is inadvertently rotated, there could be higher risk of getting winter sunscald (aka southwest injury) on that tender side. Zabriskie also notes that orientation should be considered when transplanting other ornamental plants like shrubs, cacti and agaves. I’m glad Zabriskie brought this up because I’m concerned that winter sunscald is a much bigger problem for our trees than we realize, and not just for new transplants. What’s more, it’s preventable with a few simple steps. Have you ever noticed bark buckling off the tree trunk? Or blisters on the southwest side of the trunk while the other side looks fine? Go outside and take a look for yourself. Sometimes the differences are shocking…

Salem, Oregon, Statesman-Journal, January 23, 2020: Illegal trimming destroys street trees at Gatti property, famous for holiday light display

For nearly four decades, lawyers Dan and Richard Gatti helped the community get into the holiday spirit each year, lighting up their business at the Y intersection of Liberty and Commercial streets NE, with thousands of Christmas lights and decorations. But now, the brothers’ devotion to their little corner of the city has them in hot water. Over the most recent holiday season, people driving past the building also were greeted with a half-dozen topped trees — including four on city property. Experts say trees should never be topped, which removes most of the branches. And city code prohibits anyone from trimming or removing city-owned trees without a permit. The light display went on hiatus in 2018, when the law firm moved to a new building downtown, but a new tenant brought a limited version back last year. The brothers still own the building, as well as another on the property and one across the street. In an interview, Richard Gatti said he hired a contractor to do general work around the properties, and asked him to tidy up the trees, which were blocking the sidewalk as well as views of the lights. “Dan and I always want to keep things in great shape for people who go see the Christmas display, or for normal people going down the sidewalk,” Gatti said. “Those trees haven’t been maintained in a long time.” Unfortunately, Gatti didn’t notify the city, get a permit, hire a licensed tree service, or specify exactly what should be done. “Do I know that we’re not supposed to be trimming their trees without approval? I suppose I knew that, but I thought, well, I was doing mine,” Gatti said… Tree topping, also called heading or tipping, is the removal of a majority of a tree’s branches. It’s one of the worst things one can do to a tree, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry…

San Diego, California, Union Tribune, January 23, 2020: Tree trimmer injured at University City hotel when palm uproots, falls with him in it

A tree trimmer working 30 feet up a palm tree inside a University City hotel was injured Thursday morning when the tree uprooted and fell over with him tied to it, his supervisor said. The accident occurred a little before 11 a.m. while workers were removing several caryota palm trees at Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego-La Jolla, according to Joe Jaha, a supervisor with Arbor West Tree Surgeons. San Diego emergency personnel initially reported that a guest was struck by a falling tree at the hotel on La Jolla Village Drive near the Westfield UTC shopping center. Jaha said the worker who was injured was a “very experienced tree trimmer” and climber who was about 30 feet up the 40 foot tree. “Unexpectedly, the tree uprooted, and he went down with the tree,” Jaha told OnScene TV and other reporters. “We inspected the trees before we started. They looked healthy, just shallow rooted … He didn’t fall out of the tree, he fell with the tree.” Medics took the victim to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. The worker sustained a broken leg, broken arm and cuts to his face, according to Luke Brown, a spokesman for the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He was treated at the hospital and released by 4 p.m…

Manchester, Connecticut, Journal Inquirer, January 23, 2020: Tree warden hears comments on plan to cut 121 trees at golf course

A mix of golfers and conservation-oriented residents met at the Public Works Facility on Wednesday to debate a proposal that would remove 121 trees near the 13th hole of the Manchester Country Club. The public hearing was called by Public Works Field Services Superintendent Kenneth Longo, who operates as the town’s tree warden, after residents asked for it. The club received an inland wetlands permit for the project from the Planning and Zoning Commission in November. A dozen or so residents showed up at the hearing. Matt Gomes, director of operations for the Manchester Country Club, said the work would remove 121 trees on the south side of the 13th hole that are encroaching on the fairways, the greens, and the tees. The project aims to reduce shade and improve the quality of the turf, he said. “This is a maintenance issue that should have been taken care of decades ago,” Gomes said. He said golf courses across the country are dealing with similar encroachment issues and have to conduct periodic tree removal to keep their courses healthy. Gomes said that the country club leases the land from the town, so it has a responsibility to maintain the course…

New York City, Staten Island Advance, January 23, 2020: Advance gets action: Dangerous leaning tree in Charleston being removed

A tree in Charleston, which is damaged and leaning over Winant Place, is a danger to motorists, said a Charleston resident who has been trying to get the tree removed. When first contacted by the Advance, the Parks Department issued a statement regarding the criteria for tree removal. After the Advance again reached out to the Parks Department, the agency said it was working to remove the tree the following day. In an initial email to the Advance, the Charleston resident said he’d witnessed multiple crashes into the tree, which was hanging over Winant Place between Arthur Kill Road and Kreischer Street. Online city data shows there have been 10 motor vehicle accidents since 2017 on Winant Place between Arthur Kill Road and Kreischer Street, however, the data does not indicate if a tree was involved in any of the accidents. Since December, four complaints have been made to the city’s online 311 portal, city records show. On the Parks Department website it asks resident to report if a tree is “leaning, uprooted, or has fallen down” or if “a tree is alive, but is in poor or declining condition.” All four complaints were closed out the following day, the data shows, with the comment, “no action was taken because the Department of Parks and Recreation determined the issue is out…”

Albany, New York, Times Union, January 23, 2020: A fascinating tree, once you get to know it

The leaves were an odd shape, I noticed while we waited for the realtor. Not a maple or oak or ash or any other tree I knew. We bought the house, but not because of the tree. “It’s a gingko,” my mother-in-law told us when she saw the leaves that had defied my identification. You never know what you’re getting from a house, from a marriage, from a city or from a tree until you live with them for a while. We learned during our first fall with the gingko. When those distinctive-shaped leaves turned bright yellow and the tree reached like a golden sword into a blue autumn sky. But the gingko show wasn’t done. Because the leaves fall almost all at once, in the space of an hour or two. You can lay on your back in the grass and watch those golden leaves drift down on you. Gingko morning has become a minor family holiday in our house. We watch the thermometer and when it’s cold enough, the first rays of morning light trigger the leaves and we watch the cascade. The gingko is there for us on other, warmer mornings as well. When my mother, daughter and I sit on the porch with mugs of coffee and hot chocolate and watch a white-breasted nuthatch take sunflower seeds from our feeder and hide them in the ginkgo’s bark…

Weather Underground, January 22, 2020: Marcescence: Why Some Trees Keep Their Leaves in Winter

I love to walk through the woods at all times of the year. Fall is so wonderful because of the change in the colors of the leaves, and as we head toward winter, the deciduous trees pretty much shed their leaves and become bare—well, most of those trees. I often wondered why some of these trees seem to keep their leaves into early winter and some keep their leaves right through until the next spring. That process is known as marcescence, and it’s defined as the retention of dead plant organs that normally shed. In this case, it’s those leaves that are normally shed by deciduous trees in at the end of the growing season, in contrast to trees that are “evergreen” and do not shed their leaves (as shown in the image at top). The process of shedding leaves is really interesting and shows the intricate evolution of nature as a way to survive through all seasons. When the days grow shorter and the amount of sunshine available to leaves decreases, the process that makes food for the trees ends. Chlorophyll begins to break down, the green color disappears, and we get those splendid colors of the fall before most trees drop their leaves. The process of leaf drop is also a neat little trick of nature. At the base of their stem (referred to as the petiole), leaves have a zone called the abscission layer, located near the branch to which they are attached…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, KARE-TV, January 22, 2020: Minneapolis city staff work to prevent salt impact on trees

In a busy downtown Minneapolis, keeping roads and sidewalks clear during winter is critical. “You got to keep it clear,” said property manager Robert Schroeder. “We salt sidewalks, but we make sure to limit it.” He limits his salt usage because of the harm it can cause to the hundreds of trees planted downtown. “That is going to affect them,” said Robert. Dozens of trees have died downtown according to the Downtown Improvement District and a salty diet may be to blame for a good portion. “We believe one of the things that lead to challenge downtown in growing trees is salinity in the soil,” said Ben Shardlow, director of urban design for the Downtown Improvement District. He says tree survival rates have actually improved, but he’s still working to educate everyone. “In many cases property owners and managers can reduce the amount of salt by about 50%,” said Shardlow. Environmental Consultant Connie Fortin says homeowners should pay attention too and look for alternatives so they can ‘salt smarter.’ “If we can be a little bit patient we can use a lot less salt or if we invest in newer technologies we can use a lot less salt,” said Fortin. “Lets make smart decisions…”

Vancouver, British Columbia, January 22, 2020: ‘Death warrant’ for majestic maple trees near UBC sparks controversy

Residents in the University Endowment Lands, a small, unincorporated community tucked between Vancouver and the University of B.C., are dismayed by plans to axe dozens of large maple trees in the area. Chris Wall, who has lived for 17 years on the same block as many of the broad, leafy trees, said he fears the community administrators are committed to seeing them gone despite what residents think about the idea. “The death warrant’s been signed,” Wall said in an interview this week. “We don’t have a lot of time.” Wall said residents have started a petition aimed at reversing what they see as an arbitrary decision to remove the trees, and he said some are prepared to go as far as chaining themselves to the trees to keep them standing. Jonn Braman, the manager of the endowment lands, said he believes the trees are putting people at risk and for that reason he has told community members they need to be replaced…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, January 22, 2020: Tacos, anyone? Iguanas are falling from trees, and people are selling the meat online

Mango season may be months away, but if you live in South Florida today, your trees may be ripe for the picking — of iguanas. Iguana meat, dubbed “chicken of the trees,” started showing up on Facebook Marketplace overnight, as the temperature dipped into the 40s. The green iguanas are an invasive species, stunned lifeless by South Florida’s occasional cold snaps, and they die if the chilly weather holds. The National Weather Service even tweeted to watch out for falling iguanas. That apparently makes them easy pickings for backyard harvesters. Several ads for skinned and butchered iguanas, looking like Peking not-duck, were posted in Miami, Doral and Homestead. Some of the ads, however, were posted days ago and show iguana meat that has clearly been frozen (though not by South Florida’s climate). At least one ad showed what looked like freshly prepped garrobo — a name often used as interchangeable for iguana in parts of Latin America. (The animals may be slightly different species, but both are often found as invasive in South Florida.) But can you actually eat them, or should you? You absolutely can — as long as the food comes from a reputable processor, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. They are commonly hunted in Central and South America and parts of the Caribbean and are an “economical source of protein,” according to the organization’s post…

New York City, WABC-TV, January 21, 2020: Should Pawling Tree Be Saved?

Seven years ago, 7 On Your Side helped save a towering tree in a New York town from being torn down. Now, it’s being targeted again. For more than 30 years, the soaring Spruce tree has stood next to the train tracks in the Dutchess County town of Pawling, and each year, it takes center stage for “Decemberfest.” But during the tree lighting last month, village residents were told to say goodbye to the 45-foot tall tree. According to Pawling’s Chamber of Commerce, the tree is dead, rotting and dangerous. This isn’t the first time the town has tried to cut down the tree, and seven years ago, the mayor wanted it gone to make way for public toilets. But townsfolk and advocates rallied to save the tree. Jacob Voudren was 10 year old when he appeared in our 7 On Your Side broadcast… Fast forward to 2020, and Jake is now a high school senior who once again finds himself fighting to save the tree. “Unless the tree was very sick, it would be respected for the heritage it has in this town,” he said. Pawling Mayor Robert Liffland said the trees branches cannot hold lights, and other town officials also want the tree gone…

Salem, Massachusetts, Patch, January 21, 2020: Salem Wants Residents To Pick Places For Tree Planting

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and the Salem Tree Commission have established the Century Tree Program, a new initiative tied to Salem 400, Salem’s quadrennial celebration, which aims to plant the next generation of heritage trees at suitable locations throughout Salem for future residents to enjoy for decades to come. Salem residents are invited to submit their suggestion for potential sites for Century Trees by emailing the location to centurytree@salem.com. The City’s Tree Warden will review the proposed locations to select the most appropriate ones for plantings that will, we hope, grow and flourish throughout the 21st century and, potentially, beyond. Each Century Tree will be designated with a plaque commemorating its planting. A heritage tree is usually recognizable by its age, rarity, and size, as well as aesthetic, botanical, ecological, or its historical value. Salem is planning ahead and identifying now sites where residents may enjoy seeing a grand tree growing through the 21st century…

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Argus Leader, January 21, 2020: City-led trimming of street trees would cost taxpayer millions, parks department says

For decades, Sioux Falls property owners have been tasked with keeping branches that hang over sidewalks primped. And new data released this week by the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department, charged with administering Project T.R.I.M. (Tree Raising Improvement Methods), says abolishing that policy and instead using city workers to keep sidewalk trees trimmed would come with a hefty price tag for taxpayers. At the request of Councilor Theresa Stehly, who for years has griped about the city putting the burden of keeping trees trimmed on property owners, the parks office used a six-block area to study the cost of doing the work in house. In total, it took city crews about 44 labor hours to finish trimming the pilot area, which included 172 individual properties. That work resulted in about $9,900 in staff and equipment costs. Sioux Falls park operation manager Kelby Mieras said with about 12,000 properties in the yearly Project T.R.I.M. coverage area, the city would expect an annual cost of about $688,527 if property owners no longer had to do the work themselves…

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, January 21, 2020: Aging San Francisco Ficus Trees Causing Standoff Between City, Residents

Dozens of aging Ficus trees in San Francisco are posing a public safety risk, the city says. Residents are fighting to keep the streets green, but trying to keep the dying trees might actually prevent the city from getting new ones planted. San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza is a place where any number of the challenges facing San Francisco are in near sight. One that may not jump out immediately, however, is the trouble in the trees. The Ficus trees in the city are not only old, they have been prone to failure since the most recent drought. Those trees are now of particular concern because in 2016, voters made the city responsible for the 125,000 trees that line city streets. “They’re now responsible if those trees now fall and hurt someone,” said Dan Flanagan of the Prop E aftermath. Flanagan is the Executive Director of Friends of the Urban Forest, San Francisco’s partner in the tree business. “There’s been an online petition with close to 5,000 signatures trying to save the Ficus,” says Michael Nulty, one of the petition supporters. Downtown, the Ficus trees circle the Main Library. In the Mission, it’s the Ficus trees that line 24th Street. “You tell me, doesn’t the trees behind me make this place look a lot better,” asks Luis Gutierrez, owner of La Reyna Bakery. In both cases, the city says the trees are a safety hazard and require removal. This, happening in a city that could certainly use more trees…

San Diego, California, Union-Tribune, January 20, 2020: A tree grows — and grows — in San Diego. Is this a problem?

Trees: menace to society or beautiful ally in the fight against climate change? In the Kensington neighborhood, San Diego authorities recently marked at least a half dozen landmark pepper trees — each more than a century old — for removal. On Monday, the first was reduced to a sawdust-covered stump. “Public safety is paramount,” said Anthony Santacroce, the city’s senior public information officer, arguing that each marked tree is structurally unsound, buckling the adjacent sidewalk or both. “The removal of trees is obviously not something we take lightly. We don’t want to hurt neighborhood aesthetics.” That’s precisely what the city is doing, argued Maggie McCann, a systems engineer whose Craftsman-style bungalow is shaded by one of the imperiled peppers. In San Diego Superior Court on Tuesday, McCann won a 21-day temporary restraining order against further removals. Why take out perfectly healthy trees?” she asked. From San Diego to midtown Manhattan, cities face an arbor of competing goals. “Urban forests” are invaluable, from acting as carbon dioxide sinks and creating shady sanctuaries on hot days. Like all living things, though, trees are complex. They come with costs and hazards, from broken sidewalks and clogged storm drains to — in extreme cases — crushed cars and mangled residents, victims of fallen branches and trunks…

Beaumont, Texas, Enterprise, January 20, 2020: Encroaching tree may be root of trouble down the road

Q: My neighbor has a huge tree, and the roots from that tree are causing my driveway to crack. Parts of my driveway already need to be replaced. Can I be held liable if I were to cut the roots, thus causing my neighbor’s tree to die?
A: Under the law, you do have the right to cut the roots of a neighbor’s tree that encroaches onto your property. But there is also the chance you could be held liable if the tree dies. If you decide to cut the roots, the tree will not likely die quickly. It will probably be years before the tree starts showing the effects of your actions. By then, it might be difficult to determine what had happened to cause the tree to die. To force you to pay for any damages you might have caused years earlier, your neighbor would need to sue you. Your defense would be that you had to cut the roots to prevent damage to your property. Fortunately, it is highly unlikely your neighbor will sue you over a dead tree…

Brain Pickings, January 20, 2020: Calculating the incalculable: Thoreau on the true value of a tree

More than two years after a fire started by a teenage boy destroyed 47,000 acres of old-growth forest in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, having just resolved to face the new year like a tree, I found myself on the brink of tears before the blackened trunk of an ancient ponderosa pine as I walked the sylvan scar tissue of the tragedy. A conversation with my hiking companion — a dear friend currently working with the Navajo Nation on preserving and learning from their own ecological inheritance — led to the impossible question of how we can even begin to measure the loss: What is a tree worth? Not its timber, not its carbon offset value, but its treeness — the source of the existential wisdom Whitman celebrated, the mirror Blake believed it holds up to a person’s character, its silent teachings about how to love and how to live and what optimism really means. The teenager who decimated this green tapestry of belonging was ordered to pay $36.6 million in restitution — a number that staggers at first, but only until one considers the nearly 4,000,000 leaved and rooted victims of the crime, and the many more millions of creatures for whom the forest was home, and even the occasional insignificant human animals who, like my friend and I, bathed in these ancient trees to wash away the sorrows of living…

Portland, Oregon, KOIN-TV, Activists say beloved Portland tree doomed by development (Jan. 20)

The man named Merlin wrapped his home around a tree, and lived happily – until the forces of change came calling. It sounds like something ripped from the pages of “The Overstory,” the recent Pulitzer Prize winning novel that features a subplot about a Portlander fighting to save a strand of trees from city saws. But unlike Richard Powers’ fiction, this story is true. Longtime residents will remember Merlin Radke for his auto parts store, which closed its doors in 2015 after more than 80 years in business. Radke built several homes on his secluded property at 6285 N. Fessenden St., including one with the bole of the tree branching through the roof. On his death, the property was deeded to Warner Pacific College, according to local activists with the Tree Emergency Response Team. It seems the institution didn’t have much interest in the property. Multnomah County property tax records show the lot is owned by Fish Construction NW, who purchased the land last year for $470,000. Here’s where the story gets complicated. “Normally when you think of trees that are about to be cut down — you immediately think, ‘oh, it’s the developer’s fault,’” says Ashley Meyer, a project coordinator for the response team. “That’s what Captain Planet taught us.” But developer Jeff Fish is well known for his commitment to building affordable starter homes aimed at first-time buyers…

Portland, Maine, Press-Herald, January 19, 2020: Clones help famous elm tree in Yarmouth live on, for now

A massive elm tree nicknamed Herbie is long gone, but it is going to live on, thanks to cloned trees that are being made available to the public. At 110 feet and more than 200 years, Herbie was the tallest and oldest elm in New England and survived 14 bouts of Dutch elm disease because of the devotion of his centenarian caretaker, Frank Knight, the late tree warden of Yarmouth. The duo became famous after Knight spent half of his life caring for the tree, which he referred to as “an old friend.” Knight realized he couldn’t save the town’s elms as they succumbed by the hundreds to Dutch elm disease. So he focused his efforts on one of them: Herbie. Over five decades, Knight oversaw selective pruning of Herbie’s diseased limbs, and applications of insecticides and fungicides. The pair became well known, both in Yarmouth and beyond, thanks to international news coverage. The tree was cut down Jan. 19, 2010, as the 101-year-old Knight looked on. Knight died two years later. But before Herbie was chopped down, the Elm Research Institute in New Hampshire worked with Knight to collect some cuttings from Herbie to preserve the tree’s legacy with clones…

Bend, Oregon, Bulletin, January 19, 2020: Tree felling project planned for Camp Sherman

The Sisters Ranger District in the Deschutes National Forest is planning to cut down up to 500 trees to clear a 20-foot-wide corridor for an existing electrical line in one Central Oregon’s most popular recreational areas. The project is located in the vicinity of Camp Sherman and County Road 1102 (Indian Ford Creek), according to a release from the U.S. Forest Service. Around 13 miles of forest area will be affected by the project, equal to about 40 acres of potential impact. Camp Sherman is a resort area 40 miles northwest of Bend. The area contains a number of small, low-key resorts and is well known for fishing and swimming in the cold waters of the Metolius River. The electrical line is owned by the Central Electric Cooperative Inc., a member-owned nonprofit that has provided electric utility services to its members in Central Oregon since 1941. Around 80 miles of CEC power lines are located in the Deschutes National Forest. “Due to recent wildfires in California and other states, the utility companies have a heightened sense of clearing right-of-way areas around electrical lines,” said Ian Reid, Sisters district ranger…

Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times, January 19, 2020: As Seas Rise, a Florida Keys ‘Ghost Forest’ Makes A Last Stand

On a stretch of the Lower Keys, near an old borrow pit quarried during the construction of Big Pine, sea water and mud cover much of the rocky ground. Poisonwood trees, whose sap was used by the Calusa to poison enemies, grow along the pit’s high berm. Clumps of pink-flowered pride-of-Big Pine, one of the planet’s most imperiled plants and found only in the Keys, also sprouts from the rare patch of high ground. There’s something else, more ominous, too: bleached pine tree stumps, rising like tombstones. A pine rockland forest once stood here, maybe a century ago. Not that long in tree years. The stumps still give off a sharp, tarry smell when gouged with a knife. Freshwater sawgrass could be found as recently as the 1990s. But now, it’s a stark and solemn warning about rising seas. “It’s really kind of pathetic,” said Florida International University forest ecologist Michael Ross, who’s been studying the Keys pineland since the 1990s. Just three decades ago, when he started studying the forests, healthy pineland grew on at least 10 islands. Today, the forests are thinning or gone. The only healthy tract stands on Big Pine…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Minnesota Public Radio, January 20, 2020: Could cutting back on salt save downtown Minneapolis trees?

Minneapolis has planted hundreds of trees in the past few years in an effort to green up downtown, but many aren’t surviving past their first year. City staff have been trying to figure out why, and they think they might have found the culprit: salt. Soil tests show that salinity levels in some of the planting spots are much higher than what’s ideal for trees to thrive, said Ben Shardlow, director of urban design for the Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Downtown Improvement District. “I don’t think there is such a thing as tree autopsies, so we never know exactly for sure why a tree hasn’t done well,” Shardlow said. “But in a lot of spots, it’s been pretty normal for a tree to have to be replaced every year or two, again and again and again … It’s not the tree’s fault. It’s something to do with the ground that it’s growing in.” Salt is used liberally in downtown Minneapolis to keep sidewalks and parking lots clear of ice. After the ice melts, the extra salt left behind piles up or gets pushed to the side — sometimes directly into the places where the trees are trying to grow…

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, January 16, 2020: Federal Judge Threatens to Force PG&E to Hire More Tree Trimmers

A federal judge on Thursday threatened to force Pacific Gas & Electric to hire more tree trimmers to reduce the chances of its electrical grid igniting fires in Northern California and adhere to a requirement imposed after the utility’s natural gas lines blew up a neighborhood a decade ago. U.S. District Judge William Alsup notified PG&E he expects more precautions to be taken, a day after the San Francisco company acknowledged in a court filing that as many as 22,000 trees in its sprawling service territory may still be creating fire hazards. Those dangers are one reason the nation’s largest utility has resorted to deliberately turning off the power in dry, windy and hot conditions — a strategy that at one point left an estimated 2 million people without power in October. PG&E has said the deliberate blackouts could be a recurring event for the next decade while it spends billions of dollars to upgrade its outdated electrical grid. Alsup said he thinks that reliance on blackouts stems in part from PG&E’s tree-trimming shortcomings. The company said it will respond to Alsup by his Feb. 12 deadline. In its disclosure Wednesday to the judge, PG&E asserted it’s unrealistic to expect it to be able to ensure all trees are maintained in a way that ensures all the branches, leaves and other vegetation remain a safe distance from its transmission lines…

Chicago, Illinois, WLS-TV, January 16, 2020: Chicago Water Dept. tests tree-saving technology in Andersonville

More than a dozen trees in Andersonville are saved, thanks to a new pilot program the city of Chicago’s Water Department is implementing. “These mature trees are one of the most valuable things that we have to keep us healthy,” said Lesley Ames, Andersonville tree committee member. Last year, the water department was scheduled to complete routine sewage maintenance and drain removal. To do that, they’d have to cut down trees around the neighborhood, some of them more than 100 years old. “It seemed to us to be an abnormal number of trees,” Tamara Schiller said. Schiller is also a member of the tree committee and has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years. “There were ten trees alone on my block, so we started looking into it and said, ‘Isn’t there something else that could be done?'” Schiller said. “The more people found out about it, the more people came out into the street and wanted to find out what was going on,” Ames added. People like Ames and Schiller talked to their neighbors, their alderman and the water department to find an alternative. After months of back and forth, they found one: a CIPP or cured-in-place-pipe…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, January 16, 2020: Dominion Energy will cut down nearly 250 palmetto trees on Sullivan’s Island

Palmetto logs famously helped Fort Moultrie absorb a pounding from British cannonballs in 1776, and many palmettos there survived Hurricane Hugo in 1989. But the iconic trees are no match for the coming buzz of Dominion Energy’s chainsaws. The utility plans to cut down nearly 250 palmettos on the island where some residents are still smarting from the extensive tree-trimming Dominion conducted there last year. “They’ve already butchered things here and in Mount Pleasant and West Ashley and James Island,” said William Fuller, who has lived on the island since before Hugo. “Dominion, ‘schmominion’ — I don’t know what they are doing.” Utility tree-trimming is often controversial, but it’s particularly fraught when palmetto trees are involved. That’s because those trees can’t be trimmed shorter, so it means removing them entirely. “It’s very disturbing to a lot of residents,” said Sullivan’s Island Administrator Andy Benke. “I actually have three near my yard that are coming out. “They are just such wonderful trees to have, and I’m sad to see them go,” he said. “I don’t know that there’s anything the town can do…”

Middletown, New York, Times Herald, January 16, 2020: The Balmville Tree

The Balmville Tree, that grew in Balmville, was the oldest Eastern Cottonwood on record in the United States. Scientists in 1953 determined it started growing in 1699. There was a fable which told that the tree sprang to life when George Washington, who made his headquarters in Newburgh from 1783-84, planted his walking stick. But the tree began its life 33 years before Washington. The beloved tree grew at the intersection of three Indian trails. It grew quickly due to the plentiful supply of water, achieving a height of more than 85-feet and a circumference of 25-feet. In the latter half of the 20th-century, the roadways around the tree were redirected to avoid having it damaged. Concrete and stone were placed at its base which later caused the tree to weaken. In 1976 the NYSDEC declared the 348-square-foot site a “public historic park.” The DEC maintained the tree but the trunk soon turned hollow and the trunk was split after being hit by Hurricane Floyd causing the crown to be trimmed down. Preservation efforts were made to save the tree but in 2015 the tree was cut down due to safety concerns. A 15-foot tall stump remains and it is still a protected area…

Huffington Post, January 16, 2020: In Rare Good News, Australia Says Endangered ‘Dinosaur Trees’ Saved From Devastating Fires

Australian officials said Thursday that a stand of trees with ancestors that date back 200 million years was saved from a series of devastating bushfires, a glimmer of good news as the country begins recovering from the ongoing disaster. New South Wales Environment Minister Matt Kean said a team of firefighters was deployed to a remote part of the Blue Mountains, about 120 miles northwest of Sydney, as a massive bushfire approached. Fire officials used planes to water-bomb the area and lowered firefighters into a remote gorge to set up an irrigation system to wet the ground and save the trees, called Wollemi pines. “Wollemi National Park is the only place in the world where these trees are found in the wild and, with less than 200 left, we knew we needed to do everything we could to save them,” Kean said in a statement Thursday. “The pines, which prior to 1994 were thought to be extinct and whose location is kept secret to prevent contamination, benefited from an unprecedented environmental protection mission.” The area hosts the only known natural cluster of Wollemi pines, which are colloquially known as “dinosaur trees” because fossil records show they date back as far as 200 million years. The species was thought long extinct until they were discovered by a park ranger about 26 years ago…

Dayton, Ohio, Daily News, January 15, 2020: Free tree seedlings to help heal tornado-damaged areas

Five Rivers MetroParks is launching a reforestation to help replace thousands of trees ripped from their roots by Memorial Day tornadoes and heal the community. Damage to trees was immense and remains an inescapable loss, but replacing them will help heal the community, said Becky Benná, Five Rivers MetroParks’ executive director.“An untold number of trees, shrubs and other plants critical to our region’s wildlife and natural heritage were lost during the storms,” she said. “It’s important we replant in the areas where so many were lost to tornado damage.” The project, called Healing Nature, will provide communities and individuals with trees native to Ohio. A limited number of free seedlings will become available to the public in April…

Fall River, Massachusetts, Herald News, January 15, 2020: Tiverton has an unsolved mystery: Who cut down more than two dozen trees to improve the view?

The only thing clear in this mystery is there’s an unobstructed view of the water now that someone lopped off all but a few feet of more than two dozen trees on a waterfront lot on Main Road owned by the town. Who did it, and why, is under investigation by the police department, Capt. Michael Miguel said of the property across from 1644 Main Road, just south of St. Christopher’s Church and across from Jennifer Lane. Police Chief Patrick Jones said police have conducted “an exhaustive investigation,” and are asking that anyone with information contact them. Town Councilman John Edwards V suggested Monday night that the Town Council offer a reward for information, but that may be discussed at another meeting. “It’s not every day a bunch of trees get lopped off and nobody knows what happened,” said Council President Patricia Hilton. “They lopped all the trees off at the height of the chain-link fence. This happened on Main Road. Somebody saw something.” It happened Jan. 2, it is believed, because someone went to town hall Jan. 3 and told Town Clerk Nancy Mello about it…

Ahmedabad, India, The Times of India, January 16, 2020: Ahmedabad: Man beaten for objecting to tree felling

A 30-year-old man from Sarkhej on Tuesday filed a complaint with police alleging that his neighbour and two of his family members assaulted him as the complainant objected to them cutting trees in the housing society. In his FIR with the Sarkhej police, Faruq Mansuri, 30, a taxi driver and a resident of Bilal Park Society in Sarkhej said he had seen his neighbour Altaf Mansuri cutting trees in the society. “I told him not to cut the threes as they are needed, Altaf got angry at me and began abusing me. I responded and an argument ensued over the issue,” said Faruq in the complaint. To avoid a fight with Altaf, Faruq did argue more and left the place. Later, he went to drive his taxi. When Faruq returned to his home at around 7pm on Tuesday, Altaf, his wife and their son rushed to their home and began arguing about why he had stopped them from cutting the trees. As Faruq tried to tell them about the values of trees, Altaf and his family members began abusing him again. When Faruq’s wife intervened, Altaf’s wife hit her and as Faruq tried to rescue his wife, he was assaulted by Altaf and his son…

Phys.org, January 14, 2020: RNA provides clues to explain longevity of ginkgo trees

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in China and one in the U.S. has found that ginkgo biloba trees do not experience senescence. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their RNA analysis of Ginkgo biloba cambium and what they learned from it. Prior research has shown that ginkgo biloba trees can live for a long as 1000 years. To learn more about their longevity, the team working in China collected tissue samples from nine ginkgoes aged approximately 600, 200 and 20 years old. Prior efforts at studying tree aging were focused on the leaves. In this new effort, the researchers were more interested in the vascular cambium—the thin layer of tissue that produces outer bark and inner wood. RNA analysis showed no sign of senescence. They did find that the older trees produced less auxin, a common plant hormone, and more abscisic acid, a hormone produced in response to stress. The older trees also had thinner annual rings. But there was little difference in efficiency of photosynthesis and seed germination rates in trees of different age, and the activity of the genes in all of the tree ages was similar. There were also no differences in disease resistance. The researchers were unable to find any sign of programmed death and were also unable to explain the lack of senescence…

Washington, D.C., WTOP Radio, January 14, 2020: Warm winter triggers early cherry tree bloom on National Mall, but spares showstoppers

The recent warm winter weather, including back-to-back 70-degree days last weekend, has given cherry trees on the National Mall the reason to flower — two months before the start of the annual cherry blossom festival. But, don’t worry; they’re not those cherry trees. Predicting peak bloom dates is a yearly tradition for the National Park Service, local hospitality providers, tourists and locals trying to time their visit to the Tidal Basin. But the annual bloom watch focuses on Yoshino cherry trees. The trees flowering now are Higan cherry trees. “They’re autumnal bloomers,” said Brian Hall, National Park Service spokesman for the National Mall and Memorial Parks. “You’re going to see lots of branches blooming, but not the full tree.” Most of the Higan cherry trees are on the grounds of the Washington Monument, Hall said…

Atlas Obscura, January 14, 2020: How Aboriginal Hunting and ‘Cool Burns’ Prevent Australian Wildfires

There is a scar across Australia’s Western Desert. For millennia—no one is sure how many, though evidence of Aboriginal people’s presence in Australia stretches back 50,000 years—the Martu people used fire to hunt in the scraggly bush. In a practice called cultural burning, they set low blazes patient enough for small animals such as bettongs and wallabies to flee their burrows before the fire reached them. Years of cultural burning cleared underbrush, creating a patchy habitat preferred by the small animals Martu people most liked to hunt, while simultaneously preventing massive lightning fires from consuming the land. For the Martu, these fires were so vital that they were a means of maintaining life itself. “They would say, ‘If we weren’t out here burning, things won’t exist,’” says Rebecca Bliege Bird, a Pennsylvania State anthropologist who has worked with the Martu for decades. But when, in the 1960s, the Australian government pushed Martu people into towns, in order to test missiles on their land, the life-giving burns stopped. Lightning fires—large, hot, unscrupulous—took their place. In the 20 years it took the Martu to regain access to their homeland, the entire ecosystem was knocked off balance…

Philip Poynter Construction Safety, January 14, 2020: Tree felling operations lacked defined comms

A UK company has been fined following an incident when a worker suffered serious injuries after being struck by a tree in February 2016. Fort William Sheriff Court heard that four employees were felling trees on land adjacent to the A82 north of Fort William, contracted by the Forestry Commission. Whilst dealing with an 8m tree the injured workman made preparatory cuts and checked with the rest of the team to ensure they were in a safe place. He thought his colleagues understood that he was about to fell the tree. After the initial cut was made he made his felling cut at the same time as a co-worker dragged a large branch from the brash pile into the path of the felling tree. The tree stuck him on the left side of his helmet and left shoulder. HSE investigators found that the normal exclusion zone (no one positioned within two tree lengths of a tree being felled) was not adhered to on this occasion. A clearly defined system of communication would have prevented the misunderstanding…

Anaheim, California, Orange County Register, January 13, 2020: What is killing the native oaks of Southern California?

The Goldspotted Oak Borer, or GSOB, is an invasive beetle that is killing native oaks in several areas of Southern California. Susceptible oaks include coast live oak, canyon live oak, and California black oak. In many cases, GSOB has damaged or killed mature oaks valued for their beauty, wildlife habitat, and shade. Areas with large numbers of native oaks are particularly at risk. Unfortunately, oaks that are injured over several years from multiple generations of the GSOB often die. Although the Goldspotted Oak Borer was first identified in San Diego County in 2004, it wasn’t until 2008 that oak deaths were linked directly to them. By 2010, they’d killed more than 20,000 oak trees growing in forests, parks, and urban areas in San Diego County. Later infestations occurred in Idlyllwild in 2012, Orange County in 2014, and Los Angeles County in 2015. The three most recent outbreaks have all occurred in San Bernardino County…

Chico, California, KHSL-TV, January 13, 2020: Hazardous tree removal deadline, what you need to know

The Paradise Town Council and the Butte County Board of Supervisors passed ordinances requiring the removal of hazard trees damaged by the Camp Fire from private property that may fall into public roadways. The deadline to sign up for hazardous tree removal in the Camp Fire burn zone is Friday, Jan. 17. Ginessa Stark from CAL OES along with Jenna Johnson, one of the ‘Zone Captains” in Paradise joined Action News Now at noon to share what you need to know. If you choose to go with the state program, you will sign the right of entry form (ROE). Then officials will come in and take all the trees that are hazardous to the public right away, with no out of pocket cost to the owners, Stark said. If you want to take the trees down yourself, you can hire a private contractor to do so. If you have already had the trees taken down, CAL OES said you still need to sign the inspection access form. That allows the officials to go, make sure that you’re complying with the ordinance, and get you signed off. Afterward, you can get your rebuild permits…

Colorado Springs, Colorado, KRDO-TV, Colorado Springs forestry crews finish bulk of 2019 damaged tree cleanup on schedule

With nearly 2,000 people asking for 3,000 damaged trees to be removed from their property after last year’s late spring snowstorm, it seemed an overwhelming job for a 7-member crew in Colorado Springs. But on Monday, crew supervisor Dennis Will announced that the crew successfully met its goal of responding to those service requests by the end of 2019 — after seven months of steady work. “We cleared it two weeks ago,” he said. “We just wish we had the manpower to respond sooner. There’s probably 500 requests from people who got tired of waiting for a response. And our response doesn’t count some of the 50,000 park trees that have damage.” The forestry crew responded to reports of damaged trees along sidewalks or under city responsibility that threatened private property owners. “What really helped us is we got three new employees and $1 million in new equipment approved before the storm,” Will said. “The storm response cost around $233,000, with several departments contributing to the effort…”

New York City, Brooklyn Paper, January 13, 2020: State judge orders city to study Fort Greene Park revamp environmental harms

The city’s controversial scheme to axe a small forest worth of trees in Fort Greene Park hit a snag after a state judge ordered the Parks Department to conduct an environmental review that could delay the project for months. State Supreme Court Judge Julio Rodriguez III sided with the environmental watchdogs at Friends of Fort Greene Park in ruling that the Parks Department needed to study the $10.5 million project’s potential environmental impacts, saying the plan to fell upwards of 83 trees constitutes a substantial change to the green space, according an attorney for the plaintiffs. “This decision should awaken the department to reality,” said legal advisor Michael Gruen in a statement. “Environmental regulation is not enacted to be evaded as if it were merely an annoyance. It is designed to ensure serious and honest evaluation of environmental risks from the inception of governmental consideration of any project…

Phys.org, January 13, 2020: Climate change unlikely to drive sugar maples north

Climate is an important factor in determining a plant species’ growing zone. Some studies suggest that by the turn of the next century, climate change will have caused some species to spread several dozen kilometres north of their current distribution areas. Such changes could have major consequences on how land-based ecosystems function. But a northern migration isn’t in the cards for sugar maples, according to Alexis Carteron, who recently published his doctoral research findings in the Journal of Ecology. His work is supervised by Professor Etienne Laliberté of Université de Montréal and co-supervised by Mark Vellend of Université de Sherbrooke. Carteron and his colleagues at Université de Montréal’s Department of Biological Sciences and the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale reached this conclusion after conducting experiments in greenhouses at the Jardin botanique de Montréal using soil samples harvested from Mont-Mégantic National Park…

Genesee, New York, The Daily News, Jan. 13, 2020: Local forests losing their stories

The Erie Canal towpath was once the interstate for itinerant workers — hoboes, if you will — who traveled from town to town in search of their next farming or handyman gig. While doing so, they frequently stopped over on my family’s farm, which butts up to the canal. It was an attractive spot to set up camp because of the fresh water they could drink from a brook that runs through our woods, the same brook from which they ignited gas for cooking (there is a good reason it’s called “Gas”port). While there, they often killed time by carving their names and other things in the bark of the beech trees that are common in our woods. The smooth gray bark, so easy to cut with a pocketknife, has always been quite inviting to amateur artisans, not to mention young lovers who wanted their names forever inscribed in Mother Nature for all the world to see. The hoboes, the lovers, and anyone else interested in making a statement left their calling cards on the beeches — old-fashioned graffiti that remains to this day. Those trees tell stories…

Indianapolis, Indiana, Star, January 12, 2020: Indiana’s yellowwood trees ‘unlike any other on the planet’

Three years ago, on behalf of The Nature Conservancy I supported the designation of a portion of Yellowwood State Forest as a High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF). My reason for doing so was clear: I wanted to save the yellowwood tree. Happily, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has done just that. The new HCVF will ensure rare yellowwood trees remain part of the Indiana landscape. The 591-acre HCVF will be called the Yellowwood Conservation Area at Yellowwood State Forest. Beautiful and rare, yellowwood trees are a state-endangered species in Indiana. They occur naturally in Indiana only in Yellowwood State Forest and Brown County State Park, which is the northern end of their natural range. The tree’s name comes from the yellow coloration of its heartwood, which has been used to make furniture in the past. Because Indiana’s yellowwood trees are located so distantly from any others in the U.S., I worked with the Hardwood Tree Regeneration and Improvement Center at Purdue University to learn if they are genetically distinct. We solved this mystery by studying the genetics of yellowwood trees, both inside and outside Indiana. Our analysis showed the ancestors of these trees are ancient, and they have been isolated from all other yellowwoods in the country for thousands of years. In short, Indiana has a yellowwood tree unlike any other on the planet…

Wellesley, Massachusetts, The Swellesley Report, January 11, 2020: Down goes the Hunnewell school white oak tree

With its fate sealed at a Wellesley School Committee meeting earlier in the week, the estimated 200-plus-year-old white oak at Hunnewell Elementary School property was chopped down by the Department of Public Works on Saturday. The crew started the job at 7am and expected to be working past noon. When I arrived a DPW worker in a cherry picker was carving up limbs on the 30-foot-high-ish tree. “We’ve already taken care of the hard part,” said one employee, keeping me behind the cones and tape. A report commissioned by the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission recently deemed the oak a “high risk tree,” unsafe for its location. The tree’s future had already been in question as a result of plans to re-do the Hunnewell Elementary School itself, but now the tree’s part in that equation is no longer a factor…

Fresno, California, KFSN-TV, January 9, 2020: Donors across world raise millions to protect sequoia tree grove in Valley

Housing won’t be built on California’s largest unprotected sequoia grove. A conservation group in San Francisco has purchased Alder Creek Grove. The massive parcel is located above Camp Nelson within the Giant Sequoia National Monument. It will someday provide another scenic area for families to go hiking. The beauty of the towering sequoias and pine trees at Alder Creek Grove is enough to take your breath away. Equally breathtaking is the incredible amount of money ‘Save The Redwoods League’ was able to raise to buy the scenic 530 acres so it could protect the majestic trees. League president Sam Hodder says over 8,500 donors raised $15.6 million to buy the land from the Rouch family of Springville. “People love the redwood forest and when they have an opportunity to protect a place as spectacular as Alder Creek, they step up and this was truly amazing,” says Hodder…

World Economic Forum, January 10, 2020: Chocolate you can trace back to the tree – a new vision of fairer, greener trade

How many of you like the taste of fine dark chocolate? Yes, I know. The answer is quite obvious. (Who does not love chocolate?) But how many of you know the farmers behind your chocolate? This asymmetry of information between the first mile (producers) and last mile (consumers) leads us to a shocking reality: • According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), an estimated 500 million small farmers – men and women – produce most of the developing world’s food. Yet their families suffer from even more hunger, have higher rates of poverty and enjoy less access to basic social services than poor people in urban areas. • Despite being the ones who spend the most hours per day working, producers earn the least profit of all players in the value chain. • New generations of producers do not see a decent living option in agriculture. In the words of Francisco Numan Tene, a cocoa producer from Zamora-Chinchipe province in Ecuador who has been engaged in agriculture for more than 40 years: “Agriculture is a way to bequeath poverty to our children…

Rochester, Minnesota, Post-Bulletin, January 9, 2020: Calling the Lorax: City asks for tree preservation ordinance input

Rochester’s Committee on Urban Design and Environment is looking for public input to draft a city tree preservation ordinance. Trees in an urban environment provide multiple benefits — economically, environmentally, in public health and mental health. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Urban Forest guide, cities in forested states would benefit from a 40% to 60% tree canopy. Currently, Rochester has a tree canopy coverage of about 27%. That might also be on the high side once the final toll of the emerald ash borer beetle is tallied. CUDE’s ordinance draft calls for a 40% minimum canopy coverage for new and existing developments but won’t affect individual homeowners. The ordinance isn’t just a requirement to plant more trees. In order to include trees in development plans, city planners and developers will need to consider their development plans and how much impervious pavement is laid, and consider long-term land-use plans. The CUDE survey cites a slightly outdated Society of American Forests guideline recommending a minimum 40% canopy coverage. The updated guidelines do suggest that 40% to 60% canopy is achievable in forested areas, but the report stresses that how it’s achieved is the most important factor, not just the size or percentage of canopy…

Kennebunk, Maine, Post, January 9, 2020: Tree trimmers to start work in Kennebunk Light & Power District

As January continues, residents within Kennebunk Light & Power District territory should see Asplundh Tree Services in their neighborhoods, trimming trees. That is the word from KLPD General Manager Todd Shea, who said last week last week that customers should expect to see tree trimmers at work along several streets and roadways. “KLPD performs maintenance trimming to increase the safety of our line workers and improve system reliability for our customers,” he said. Representatives of the tree service would be notifying residents in person about the work, he said; if no on is around, they’ ‘ll hang a tag on the door. Those with questions should call the number on the door tag. The areas to be trimmed include…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, January 8, 2020: Candia couple fights back after town declares crabapple tree ‘public nuisance’

A crabapple tree declared a public nuisance is at the root of a court battle between the town and a couple refusing to trim the 10-foot tree’s branches. Jennifer Heiberg has filed a complaint in Rockingham County Superior Court asking a judge to overturn the selectmen’s recent decision. The town has threatened to chop down the tree if Heiberg and her husband, Dustin, don’t remove some of the small branches sticking out into the road in front of their home at 14 Jane Drive. Selectman Brien Brock sent a letter to Heiberg dated Dec. 26 informing her and her husband they have 30 days to trim the branches in the town’s right-of-way. If they’re not cut back within that time, the town will remove the tree, the letter said. Heiberg argues that the tree isn’t a problem and that town officials can’t force them to do anything because the town never got a deed for the road and therefore it’s private. Heiberg said there are other, larger trees in town that pose a much greater safety risk and they’ve never been declared a nuisance. The dispute over the fruit tree began about two years ago, said Heiberg, who insists that it’s all political…

Chicago, Illinois, WBBM-TV, January 8, 2020: Friends Of The Chicago River Says Tree Removal At Legion Park Will Benefit Ecosystem

We first showed you the images on Tuesday – hundreds of trees chopped down at a park alongside the Chicago River system. As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reported Wednesday, the leveled trees in Legion Park shocked neighbors who did not see it coming. But Friends of the Chicago River said this is just the first step in a project that will actually improve the neighborhood. Hundreds of trees were chopped down and carried away along the North Shore Channel of the Chicago River in Legion Park, leaving it looking like the aftermath of a tornado. “It’s mindless, thoughtless, indiscriminate, heartbreaking destruction,” neighbor Janette Dingee said Tuesday. Painful it may be to see the trees go. But it is also necessary, according to Margaret Frisbie, executive director the nonprofit advocate group Friends of the Chicago River. “Because it’s a step-by-step process, and to start, you actually have to take down the trees that are there.” So that the banks of the river at Legion Park can be shored up – stopping erosion, and creating a healthier ecosystem, Frisbie says…

Cincinnati, Ohio, Enquirer, January 8, 2020: $1,500 worth of trees missing from Warren County Park District found

Nine trees ready to be planted at the Landen-Deerfield Park have disappeared, according to park officials. The Warren County Park District Nature Programs posted the news on Facebook on Wednesday, noting that nine blue spruce and white pine trees had been staged at the back of the park on Christmas Eve to be planted after Christmas. When staff members showed up on Dec. 26, the trees were gone. “These were very heavy trees with large root balls, and would have required a truck and either a bobcat or several strong people to move them,” the release states. A police report has been filed. Larry Easterly, Warren County Park director, said the trees – worth $1,500 total – were purchased with taxpayer dollars and donations from the Friends of Warren County Park District, a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to promote, support, improve and protect the parks within the Warren County Park District. It is not clear if the trees were stolen or taken by mistake as a part of the Christmas tree recycling program, Easterly said. The park is also a drop-off point for cut trees after the holidays…

Annapolis, Maryland, Capital Gazette, January 8, 2020: Historian wants to clone pecan trees in historic Bowie grove before development. Developer says nut so fast.

One of Bowie’s first city commissioners didn’t just plant the seeds of government in the Washington suburb. He was a pecan fanatic. Thomas P. Littlepage spent 15 years hunting across nine states for the best varieties of tree nuts in the early 20th century, then brought them back to his Bowie orchard, according to a pamphlet published in 1917 by his farm, Maryland Nut Nurseries. Today, a portion of that land has been proposed for an 80-house development. Caruso Homes plans retain 61 out of 85 specimen trees on site, according to plans submitted to Prince George’ County officials. Farmer Eliza Greenman, a member of the Northern Nut Growers Association who studies the history nuts and fruits, hopes to inspect the land before work begins, ideally in the fall when the walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, oaks, hicans — a pecan hybrid — and sweet gum balls. Greenman testified about the horticultural importance of the land at a Bowie City Council meeting Monday evening. She wants to analyze the remaining orchard and take cuttings from the trees so she can graft them to seedlings elsewhere, preserving the plants…

United Press International, January 7, 2020: Scientists genetically engineer pollution-free poplar tree

Scientists have engineered poplar trees to not harm air quality, according to a new study. Like palms and eucalyptus trees, poplars emit isoprene. Their leaves produce the highly volatile chemical in response to stress, like rising temperatures and drought. The chemical triggers the production of other protective compounds. Because the leaves produce so much isoprene and the molecules are so volatile, some of the isoprene escapes into the air. Poplar stands, grown to be harvested for biofuels, toilet paper, furniture and more, now cover 36,294 square miles of lands — double the amount of land they did 15 years ago. As a result, more isoprene is being leaked into the atmosphere. Isoprene molecules react with sunlight to produce ozone, a respiratory irritant. It also encourages the production of atmospheric aerosols, fueling the formation of haze and boosting the greenhouse gas effect of methane… In field tests, researchers planted and monitored the growth of the genetically engineered trees. The data, published this week in the journal PNAS, showed the lack of isoprene did not interfere with the trees’ photosynthesis of biomass production rates…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, January 7, 2020: Encroaching tree may be root of trouble down the road

Q: My neighbor has a huge tree, and the roots from that tree are causing my driveway to crack. Parts of my driveway already need to be replaced. Can I be held liable if I were to cut the roots thus causing my neighbor’s tree to die?
A: Under the law, you do have the right to cut the roots of a neighbor’s tree which encroaches onto your property. But there is also the chance you could be held liable if the tree dies. If you decide to cut the roots, the tree will not likely die quickly. It will probably be years before the tree starts showing the effects of your actions. By then, it might be difficult to determine what had happened to cause the tree to die. To force you to pay for any damages you might have caused years earlier, your neighbors would need to sue you. Your defense would be that you had to cut the roots to prevent damage to your property. Fortunately, it is highly unlikely your neighbors will sue you over a dead tree. To play it safe, consider hiring a professional tree company to cut the roots in a way that will do as little damage as possible…

Jacksonville, Florida, WTLV-TV, January 7, 2020: Woman pays contractor $3k to remove tree but is still waiting for the work to be completed; company promises a fix

It is not the view Joyce Hodges wants of her yard – a bare Magnolia tree standing just feet from her front door. “I made a really bad mistake,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll know better next time.” The 92-year-old Hodges said she was talked into removing the tree by an employee of East Coast Tree Pros. She said she paid more than $3,000 up front before Thanksgiving and now, more than six weeks later, she is left with a tree without its limbs and a pile of debris next to her driveway. “I made phone calls and friends made phone calls and they said ‘we are going to get back out there and finish it.’ That’s all I ever got,” she said. First Coast News called East Coast Tree Pros and spoke with the owner who said it was an employee who did the initial tree cutting and took the money while never returning to complete the job. “It’s just one of those things that I am going to have to bite the bullet and go get it took care of,” owner Kenny Sims said. Sims said there’s about a day’s left of work to do and he plans to reach out to Hodges Wednesday. She said she has not heard from him since Thanksgiving and doesn’t want him back. But Sims said he wants to make things right. “This particular gentleman, whenever he got paid up-front, I said I don’t care if we lose money, I don’t care what it takes, I am not about leaving jobs. I said I will stay here and lose money before that situation comes up,” he said. For Hodges, who’s 92 and has lived in the home since the 1950’s, it’s too little too late…

Rochester, Minnesota, Post-Bulletin, January 7, 2020: City looks for thoughts on proposed tree preservation ordinance

The city of Rochester is seeking public input on language used to develop a tree preservation ordinance. The Committee on Urban Design and Environment, often referred to as CUDE, was directed by the Rochester City Council to draft a tree preservation ordinance for consideration. The proposed ordinance would require the preservation of existing trees as well as the planting of new trees for development projects to meet minimum required canopy coverage, defined as “the cumulative aerial extent of all trees within a geographic area.” “As construction and development continues at a rapid pace locally, it is important we balance the benefits of this progress with the preservation of resources that make Rochester a great place to live,” Molly Patterson-Lundgren, the city’s heritage preservation and urban design coordinator, said in a statement seeking public input. Once adopted by the City Council, the proposed ordinance would seek to help preserve existing trees and green infrastructure, increase Rochester’s overall tree canopy coverage, and help maintain and expand the positive benefits of an urban forest…

Kansas City, Kansas, KCTV, January 6, 2020: Park rangers investigating who illegally cut trees near Perry Lake

Whoever is illegally cutting down trees near Perry Lake seems to be trying to cover their tracks. They appear to be covering up freshly cut stumps with sticks and leaves. When a visitor noticed someone cutting down trees near Perry Lake, they reported it to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Perry, Kansas. “Some remnants of what they left behind. We think they are working in somewhat of a hurry trying to get this done without anybody noticing,” Park Ranger Wesley Henson said. “We discovered probably between 30-40 trees that have been cut. We haven’t been able to catch anyone so far.” Because this is federally owned property, stealing oak, hickory and walnut trees from this property could lead to federal charges. “You are taking from taxpayers and you are taking from the wildlife. Standing trees are very valuable for wildlife habitat,” Henson said…

Chico, California, KHSL-TV, January 6, 2020: PG&E tree removal mishap: lands on power line, causes damage

A contracted PG&E crew cut a tree that landed in a power line causing damage to a Paradise home. The owner of the home, David Yarger, said it caused damage to the power line which then pulled down the Weatherhead. “A PG&E crew came out to do some tree work and while they were doing their tree work, a branch or a tree, fell on the drop to my house causing some damage to my power and my power lines… I wasn’t overly concerned about it, but as the days went by, it started getting lower and lower,” said Yarger. Yarger said he filed a report with PG&E, but when Action News Now took Yarger’s concerns to the utility they said they were not aware of the situation. They said they sent someone to check it out as soon as they found out. Yarger agreed that the utility took action quick. “They were very prompt, I have gotten several phone calls from the field technician and from representatives in the office working with me and the problem to get it solved,” said Yarger…

San Francisco, California, Bay Nature, January 6, 2020: Tree Detectives: The Northern California black walnut led scientists into a genetic mystery: is this a rare tree, or a common one?

Last April I followed Gretchen Hayes into the leafy shadows and woods along Las Trampas Creek in the East Bay. Pipevine swallowtail butterflies flapped like black handkerchiefs in the warming sun along the trail, from which we swiftly departed. Just a few steps into the foliage and we were surrounded by green, avoiding poison oak, and gingerly stepping across a creek. Hayes, a geomorphologist and veteran environmental consultant, soon zeroed in on the object of our odyssey: a gigantic Northern California black walnut (NCBW) tree. These walnut trees grow between roughly 20 and 75 feet high, with broad-spreading crowns of long, thin, and fluttery pinnate leaves, and their fruits are, well, a little larger than walnut size. The tree Hayes sought was enormous. Its trunk bent and turned in a most torturous perpendicular shape. Undoubtedly a survivor, the tree had a presence as settled and stolid as a tribal elder’s. This particular tree was one of but a handful at the center of a mystery that’s been unfolding for more than 150 years. The story reaches not only into the past, but into a future that matters. A large cast of characters across the Bay Area have played a part—city officials, natural resource management agencies, NGOs—but Hayes has mostly been aided and abetted by Heath Bartosh, a native plant botanist, and UC Davis plant sciences professor Daniel Potter. Their painstaking work enabled others to determine whether the Northern California black walnut is rare. Or not…

Singapore, Coconuts.co, January 7, 2020: Singaporeans giddy/put off by potent perfume of ‘devil tree’ blooming islandwide

Large sprays of pale apple-green flowers are blooming across Singapore, beautifying roads by day and shrouding the city-state with a powerful musk when dusk falls. While some Singaporeans welcome the rare blossoming of trees best known by their scientific name of Astonia Scholaris, which have been in full bloom for some days, others find the heady scent a tad too much. “Blooming in the estate. The blooming is not only seen but smelled. I could smell them at night from home which is about 700m away!” Facebook user Tse Horng Khoo wrote to the Nature Society group Saturday, including photos of the flowers spotted in the unnamed housing estate where he lives. Responding to Tse, Theng Jenn Chiang said: “The smell is too overpowering at my place.” Descriptions of the scent seem to vary from one sniffer to another, with some saying it is akin to jasmine flowers, while others say they smell of pepper and cinnamon…

Louisville, Kentucky, WAVE-TV, January 5, 2019: Tree planting initiative helps provide natural balance for teens in foster care

The Boys and Girls Haven on Goldsmith Lane is celebrating its 70th year of empowering and uplifting children who often have nowhere to go. Through those years the Watterson Expressway developed and grew near their location, which has added a lot of pollutants that can be harmful. 24 trees were planted by volunteers on Sunday who want to help improve the lives of the boys and girls who live on campus. The trees will help eliminate some of the negative impacts that comes with living right next to the Watterson. Alan Gates, a Boys and Girls Haven alumni, said the life lesson he will never forget learning from the organization’s founder is if you want to improve yourself or situation, you have to work and work hard. That message has carried him to his adult years and is one of the reasons he came out to plant trees and improve the situation for future generations. “The field that’s behind us is the athletic field where we used to play softball and football and the kids still do that,” Gates said. “And I think absorbing some of that sound that you hear right now will help these kids feel more like this is their backyard rather than a field by the expressway…”

Owensboro, Kentucky, Messenger-Inquirer, January 5, 2020: Parallel efforts are close to reviving the American chestnut tree

It is hard to overstate the value and cultural importance of the American chestnut tree for those who came before us. The native hardwood was once so ubiquitous, it has been said, that a squirrel could travel from Maine to Georgia in the chestnut canopy. The largest trees, spreading 100 feet or more, dropped 10 bushels of nuts, and in the fall the ground was covered with a nut blanket four inches deep, sociologist Donald E. Davis writes in a 2005 paper. The bears and turkeys feasted, the farmer’s hogs feasted, and the people who lived in chestnut territory feasted – on that sweetened Appalachian ham but also on the economic value of the trees and their nuts. The chestnut’s arrow-straight timber was valued for its size and rot resistance and today endures in the posts and beams of old farmhouses and barns. For us city folk, the chestnut evokes everything that is nostalgic about yuletide season, the notion of a vendor plying hot roasted chestnuts on a street corner. The aroma, the warmth in the hand, the nutty flavor all conjure one of the more cuddly images of a Dickensian world. Today, this diminished holiday custom is carried on with nuts from Asia and Europe, which are bigger but less sweet. The American chestnut was killed off by the arrival of a blight in 1904 that within a few decades had virtually wiped out an entire, dominant species. In modern parlance the fungus, Cryphonectria parasitica, went viral…

Los Angeles, California, UCLA Daily Bruin, January 5, 2020: Valley oak tree could provide insight into how plants will adapt to climate change

The valley oak, a tree species native to California, is at the root of a new means of determining an organism’s genetic fitness in the face of climate change. A UCLA-led study found that under current global warming conditions, trees such as valley oaks are unable to thrive, adapt and proliferate as before. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in November. While the study focused on the valley oak, it illustrated greater ramifications for species that are slow to adapt and evolve, in terms of conservation and reforestation, said Victoria Sork, a plant evolutionary biologist who headed the research. The study was authored by former UCLA postdoctoral researcher Luke Browne, who collaborated with Jessica Wright, a conservation geneticist at the Pacific Southwest Research Station of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, along with several other researchers. The study used common garden experiments to test the assumption that trees are best suited to their climate of origin. A benefit of using trees is that trees are a living record of changes in the environment. Scientists can go back to these organisms and continue to study them over several generations…

Grand Island, Nebraska, Independent, January 5, 2020: Don’t forget to water your trees this winter

It’s been an exciting year. Above average moisture this spring and summer had most of our trees full of leaves and fruit and our gardens bursting with produce. With 2019 at an end, do you know what it takes to make sure your evergreen trees and shrubs stay in good spirits into the New Year? Winter is often an overlooked season when it comes to watering in the landscape. Plants may be dormant during the winter, but they still loose water through their stems, crowns, and in the case of evergreens, their leaves. Desiccation injury happens when the plants can’t replace the water that is lost during the winter. The cause is often dry or frozen soils where the water isn’t available for uptake by the plant. High winds, dry air, warm temperatures, and reflected heat from buildings can all play a factor in the amount of water lost by plants…

Riverside, California, Press-Enterprise, January 2, 2020: Citrus greening disease attacks Corona trees

The discovery of a dozen diseased fruit trees in Corona has fanned fears that citrus greening disease may soon ravage commercial orchards in Riverside County. Because of the finding, agriculture officials have expanded a sprawling Southern California quarantine area by 107 square miles, adding Corona, Norco and part of Chino, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The addition creates a 1,127-square-mile quarantine zone that takes in parts of Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange counties. People living inside the new area, which stretches from Chino Airport on the north to Black Star Canyon on the south, and east to the 15 Freeway, are forbidden from moving their citrus plants, fruit or foliage. However, state officials say it is permissible to consume oranges, lemons, grapefruits and kumquats on the properties where they are grown. “Sometimes it’s hard, especially around the holidays,” said Ruben Arroyo, Riverside County agricultural commissioner and sealer of weights and measures. “You have an orange tree or lemon tree with fruit, and you want to take it to your family…”

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Tribune, January 2, 2020: North Huntingdon man sues township over tree-cutting order

Three North Huntingdon officials are being sued in federal court after the township had 10 trees removed from a resident’s front yard in October. Curt Orner of 500 Oakhurst Drive alleges in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh on Dec. 30 that the defendants — township Manager Jeff Silka, Code Enforcement Officer Josh Andrykovitch and police Chief Robert Rizzo — were responsible for the township having the trees cut down on Oct. 24. Orner is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in the five-count lawsuit, alleging the township violated his constitutional rights by taking his property without due process or just compensation, as well as depriving him of his civil rights when they abused their authority. Silka said Thursday the township has yet to see the lawsuit. Orner claims he paid a landscape company $2,000 to plant 15 arborvitae trees in April 2017. In May 2017, he was told that two of his neighbors objected to the trees, alleging they blocked the vision of motorists…

Better Homes & Gardens, January 2, 2020: According to Tradition, You Should Leave Your Tree Up Until January 6—Here’s Why

When it comes to holiday decorations, there are two kinds of people: Those who take down their Christmas trees down on December 26, and those who aren’t quite ready for the season to be over. And while taking down the tree is usually less fun than putting it up, there’s actually another good reason people wait to do it. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to keep listening to Christmas music and admiring your festive decor, you’re in luck: Tradition says you should be celebrating Christmas (and leaving your decorated tree up) through January 6. You’re probably familiar with the song about the 12 days of Christmas—but you may not have known that the 12 days don’t actually start until Christmas Day, meaning there are almost two full weeks of celebrating to do after Santa arrives. According to Christian tradition, January 6 marks the day the three kings actually arrived in Bethlehem and signals the end of the Christmas celebrations. This day is called The Feast of Epiphany, The Twelfth Night, or Three Kings Day, and in some parts of the world, it signifies a celebration that’s just as big as the one on Christmas Day. And while we’ll welcome any excuse to leave the ornaments and lights up a little longer, tradition says it’s actually unlucky to take your tree down before this date. When you do finally take down the tree, don’t just leave it on the curb; you can actually recycle live Christmas trees by finding a recycling program or having them chipped into mulch for your garden…

London, UK, iNews, January 3, 2020: Gardening jobs for the weekend: It’s time for extreme tree pruning and the best environmentally-friendly hedges

Pollarding – or extreme tree pruning – is done now, and apples too, aiming to retain as much fruit bud as possible. Plant environmentally favourable wildlife hedges and nuts when the soil is dry enough. Winter gnats, seething in mild periods, happily lack bite. Cutting branches from deciduous trees to the point where only the trunk remains is very effective at preventing trees getting too big, controlling the shade they cast and promoting attractive shoots. Begin pollarding when the tree is young to avoid harm, removing branches at about 2-3m high, ideally in winter and early spring. When there has been sufficient regrowth repeat cutting, removing new branches at their point of origin. Eventually the trunk will become thickened, developing the characteristic “pollard head”. Hedges provide shelter, cleanse air, absorb excess rainfall and enhance garden wildlife, especially when native trees are used. Beech, bullace, dogwoods, hornbeam, hazel, holly, oak and spindle bush are good subjects but hawthorn is best. Plant small, 50cm inexpensive trees called whips every 35cm. Keep the whips weed-free and watered if necessary in the first year. Prune only the sides, cutting the top once the hedge approaches its final height, ideally 1.5-2m after about five years…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, January 1, 2020: Ever wonder what happens to Nova Scotia’s tree for Boston after Christmas?

Nova Scotia has sent a Christmas tree to Boston every year since 1971 as a way of showing gratitude for help after the Halifax Explosion. But what happens to the tree after the holidays end? According to Boston’s parks and recreation department, pieces of the tree could wind up in Massachusetts gardens. The 13.7-metre white spruce tree that came from around Trenton, N.S., will be taken down after mid-January. It will then be run through a wood chipper and composted. “City residents can visit a central location to pick up free compost and some of them may end up with pieces of the official Christmas tree,” Liz Sullivan, a spokesperson for the department, said in an email. The tree outside Halifax’s city hall has a similar fate. After being up since Nov. 19, Halifax’s tree comes down on Jan. 7, depending on the weather. From there, the tree is put through a wood chipper and turned into mulch…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WRAL-TV, December 31, 2019: Hawaii officials want to deploy wasp to protect native trees

Hawaii officials want to deploy a wasp throughout the state to combat another type of wasp that threatens a species of native trees. A biological control plan issued by the state Department of Agriculture and Department of Land & Natural Resources calls for the use of wasps named Aprostocetus nitens, The Maui News reported Monday. No specific timing was planned for their release, which would supplement another species that is already protecting the wiliwili trees statewide. The black and metallic green Aprostocetus nitens are related to the Eurytoma wasp that defend the trees from a third wasp species. Swollen, tumor-like growths called galls left by Erythrina gall wasps damage and kill thousands of wiliwili, along with other types of trees, officials said. The Eurytoma wasp, called “a gall wasp gladiator” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was first released in Hawaii in 2008 to destroy the galls in the native trees…

Lawton, Oklahoma, Constitution, January 2, 2020: Tips for planting trees in the new year

This new year is a perfect time to plant a tree. Trees can be planted at a resident, a park, a business or along a busy roadway. Trees have that calming effect on most people no matter what the circumstance. When planting a tree start with digging a $200 hole to put a $100 tree in. Unfortunately planting trees around here is usually in clay or poorly drained soils that can make establishment very difficult. Proper planting is the key to the tree’s survival. Planting begins with the right selection of trees that are adapted to the site and climate. For example, blue spruce will not grow well here because of our extreme weather. For information on the right species for this area, contact the county OSU Extension center, local nurseries, or observe other areas of the city that have mature trees…

Hamilton, Montana, Republic, January 1, 2020: Dirty fingernails: Be patient with young apple trees

Q: Why didn’t my three-year-old apple tree make fruit? It should be old enough, shouldn’t it?
A: Maybe. Maybe not. Young trees do not all grow at the same rate, and yours may need another year or two to store more energy in its root system. That is a big job for any tree; young trees do not even attempt fruiting until they have a surplus of food stored. How many years that takes depends primarily on how many leaves they make. Trees which grow faster make apples sooner. Some apple varieties naturally grow faster than others. That applies to the bottom as well as the top of the tree. All apple trees are grafted, and some rootstocks produce faster top growth than others. Furthermore, no matter which rootstock and which top variety make up your tree, less than ideal growing conditions will influence the number of years your tree needs to make its first apple. Montana’s growing conditions will never produce apples as fast as the orchard country of central Washington. You can help your tree to grow, and therefore fruit quickly, if you give it good soil, no competition from weeds, enough water, plenty of sunlight, and a little fertilizer. If you are not sure about the soil, mulch the tree every year with an inch of compost. Spread the circle of mulch wider than the circle of branches, since the roots extend widely underground. Mulch also will discourage weeds. If necessary, mow around the tree all summer. Inch tall weeds are less competition than two-foot ones…

TNLBGray